Eunice staring us down
Farm Flop: A City Dweller’s Guide to Failing on a Farm in Two Years Or Less is now published on Kindle! Get it for just $0.99.
Here’s an excerpt about our most devious cow, Eunice:
One of the new cows that we had bought, Eunice, was white with brown spots. She would look at you, and you could see the wheels turning in her head. She was sizing you up, thinking about how she could defeat whatever plans were made for her.
She was the smallest of the new cows, but she was higher in the pecking order than all of them. She would even challenge Hildegard and Matilda, who only kept her lower by their physical advantage in weight.
Eunice was clever. Whenever a cow was found outside of the electric fencing, it was her. She made it seem as if she knew the electric fence was only a psychological barrier, and that when she did stay in it, it was because she felt like it, and not because she was intimidated by it. She was the kind of cow you culled as soon as possible.
One day I had the cows in the back pasture in an electric paddock. This pasture is separated by a tight cross-fence from the front pasture. The only way through it is by the closed gate or jumping over a five feet high fence. Nonetheless, I looked out at the pasture, and there was Eunice running around the front one while the rest were in the back pasture. How on earth did she get there?
I went out to the front pasture, and herded her toward the back. But she resisted, and when I got her along the cross-fence, moving her toward the gate, she would make a run for it and beat me to the side fence, bolting back out to freedom in the front pasture. We repeated this about three times before I decided I needed Katie’s help.
Country Lesson: Cows can run fast
Katie came out with me, and I positioned her by the side fence where she could pressure Eunice toward the back pasture, preventing her from escaping to the front again. It worked, and we got her in the electric paddock again. I walked along the cross-fence, searching for where she jumped over. I saw no possibility. I tested the gate; it was closed fast. Scratching my head, I went back inside.
Not twenty minutes later, I look out to the pasture, and sure enough Eunice is in the front again. Grrr. I went out again and got Katie’s help immediately. We put her back in, and this time I looked more closely at the fence. On one end, dense mesquites had grown around the fence. Now, I had begun a war against the mesquites on the land beginning the previous year, but I had not yet chopped these down. I ducked under the thorny foliage, and Eunice’s secret was revealed. One of the old mesquites had a branch that had come down on top of the fence and pushed it down far enough that Eunice could wiggle her way into the space and hop over into the front pasture. Mystery solved.
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