Steve did it. He jinxed us. Yesterday, as we were sitting down to dinner, he said, "the cows have free access to the hillside, and they aren't taking it." Never, never, ever point out something that is working in your favor. It will change.
Today, he left for two days and Kadlec, after which he comes home for a few hours on Sunday, and then goes to Aurora, OR for orientation with Lifeflight, after which we have no clue what his schedule will be for the near term. So, he's essentially unavailable for at least the next week, and potentially for longer.
Sarah and I went down to the fair this afternoon for a little sight-seeing, since we didn't get to see everything we wanted to when we went on Wednesday. We had a very nice afternoon, and Sarah took part in an improvisational bit of entertainment put on by an outfit called, "The Cutest Show on Earth." She had a lot of fun participating, and I had a lot of fun watching. We stopped at the grocery store and Grandma Lane's for some produce on the way home. Sarah was looking forward to packing for camp, and I was looking forward to sitting and not moving, because yesterday's ram-rangling has left me a bit achy. But, it was not to be.
As we were driving in, the nephew was pulling out of Mom's in her pickup. He followed us up to the house and stopped behind the car. I got out to see what he needed, and he told me the cows were out. I told him that was OK. We were letting them graze the upper bottom and hillside. He informed me that they were Out. As in not on the farm. As in the neighbors had called and said we needed to come get our roping steers. Now, they aren't roping steers, but that's beside the point. I swore a little bit inside my head (it had to be silently because I didn't want to be a bad example, after all), and asked Sarah to go let Zeke off the run for me. He and I loaded up into the pickup, we loaded up a panel in case we needed it, and caravaned up the road. Sure enough - there were the cows in the neighbor's alfalfa field. Definitely not where they were supposed to be. We discussed strategy, and decided the boys would stay with the rigs to form a gate when the cows got close so they would cross the road instead of turn and run up it. Zeke and I headed off down the alfalfa field to get the cows.
He was sort of helpful. There were a lot of distractions - the sheep that lived in the field next door, miniature horses, lama's, more sheep....you get the idea. But with some guidance, he eventually got the idea that I actually wanted him to chase the cows for once, and he got them moving down the field. They run faster than I do, so it's good that the boys were down at the other end to encourage them to head for home instead of the hills. Of course, they (the cows) didn't do it the easy way, which would have been to go into the open gate almost directly opposite the one they used to exit the alfalfa field. Instead, they jumped the fence into the CRP, but that got them back onto our place so it worked. The nephew followed them in and got them back into the barnlot where they belong. I went to close the gate. The cows have proven themselves to be unsatisfied with home, so they have now lost their larger pasture priveleges until we have time to get some fence repaired. Zeke and I went on out to put the sheep in, and as we were passing that gate, the cows were looking at it forlornly as if to say, "We liked that adventure. Why can't we go out there again?" The grass in this case actually is greener on the other side of the fence, but it doesn't belong to us, they are going to have to make due. Trust me, they are not starving.
My mother says it's just the curse of the farm. Every time they left the place, the cows got out. I think it's because Steve jinxed us.