Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Few Great Guests and the Great Cow Escape

Last week we hosted our first Couch Surfer. Couch Surfing is a way to meet new people by either staying at their home or offering your home as a place to stay. Sara had signed us up online and we had our first request from Andrew, a UW-Madison student coming to Rochester to take the MCAT exam. Despite the fact that each couch-surfer's profile, photo and references are posted on the website, I was a bit worried that we could be inviting some crazy person into our home. However, Sara asked Andrew if he was a serial killer, and he said "no" so of course my mind was put at ease.

Andrew turned out to be the ideal considerate, charming guest. Plus, he had lived on a farm before and dived right in, helping Cadence fabricate a set of killing cones for her chickens and helping Sara install a movable electric fence for her pigs. He would have even helped Cadence harvest her chickens (so much for the serial killer denial!) but she determined they were still too small.
I didn't get a photo of Andrew installing the fence, but the new fenced area is behind Cadence in this photo of her feeding the pigs. Those pigs are very happy exploring that large wooded area and they learned to mind the fence after just a single touch of moist snout to hot wire.
On Sunday, Rog's brother Chris and family arrived for a brief visit from Danville, CA. Our sister-in-law, Vicki, fell in love with the cows and asked us to let her adopt them if we ever planned to eat them.
Our 12-year-old nephew Zack and his buddy Nick had never been to a farm before, but by the end of the afternoon they were catching chickens and driving the garden tractor around the yard.
Shortly after Chris and family left, another car drove into our yard and a man got out and asked if we had cows. "Yes." "They are out on the road!" "OH NO!!" But then we realized that our cows were safe in their pasture. we looked out the kitchen window and saw that our dairy farming neighbor's cows were out and traffic was stopped along the highway.
The man drove across the gravel road to the dairy farm but returned immediately when he couldn't find anyone home. Cadence and I followed him to the loose cows. We discovered that 15 cows had busted out and were romping in the neighboring cornfield. Compared to our little Dexters, Holsteins are HUGE and kind of scary! We didn't know what to do, other than signal the cars to slow way down and try to prevent the cows from running onto the road.
Fortunately, a few moments later Nancy, the farmer's wife, happened to drive by and pulled over to see what was up. "Your cows are loose!" She sped away and within minutes the entire family was there, some on foot and some on 4-wheelers, herding the cows back through the broken fence. One rebellious cow charged out toward the road and fell several feet into the ditch. We held our breath, sure that she must have broken a leg, but amazingly she was ok.
By the time the cows were heading back to their barn, our adrenalin surge was beginning to calm. Cadence and I looked at each other, relieved that no cows or cars or people were injured and slightly comforted by knowing that our cows are not the only ones that occasionally escape.


Anonymous said...

What a story Susan! Wow. I'm glad all the animals were safe, and that nobody got hurt. The Couch Surfing sounds kind of neat and I'm glad that Andrew wasn't a serial killer!

farmer said...

oh how i remember how cows love to visit the neighbors. especially taking the road so they can get in everyones way then up the driveway and into my flower beds and even the raspberries. and they call them the good old days. huh.