Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Grass is Always Greener

By Ruth A. Ringelstetter

If it’s true that we attract those things that happen in our life, then Joann and I attract cows. More specifically we attract cows on the wrong side of the fence.

Sometimes it’s one cow outside the fence, pretending to be a part of the group grazing inside the fence. Often it’s a few cows, running along in the ditch or standing in the road.

When we were kids, we were often awakened by Dad in the middle of the night because the cows had made a break for it and he needed our help to get them back in the pasture. This often happened when they were scared by a thunderstorm. One night when everyone was asleep, Mom heard what she thought were horses being ridden down the road. She wondered what they were doing out at that time of the night.

Then she discovered that it wasn’t horses, it was cows….our cows, tearing around the house in a mad circle. And because they were stampeding so close to the house, it was almost impossible to get out the door to try to get them back inside the pasture fence.

Now when we’re out shunpiking and we see a cow or cows where they shouldn’t be, we try to stop and let people know. If there is a reasonable choice for who might own the cows, or if there is a driveway nearby, we will stop to see if we can locate the owner or someone who might know the owner. These days that’s not so easy because so much land is rented out and cattle are grazed for meat rather than for dairy, often far from any farm buildings.

Sometimes we can’t see a farm or house, and don’t have time to try to locate the owner, like this September in Iowa. We were driving down a busy county road when suddenly I said, “What is that….a moose?” Up ahead, something was standing in the road and it had big horns. Then as we got closer I said “Oh, it’s a longhorn cow”.

We slowed down as the cow wandered back and forth on the other side of the road. While we were debating what to do, a man in a truck pulled up and started calling someone on his cell phone. Since we were pressed for time and he seemed to be staying with the cow, we drove on to our destination.

When you’re out on the backroads, watch out for cows in the road and Happy Shunpiking!


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