Yesterday started off as any other day would.
After dropping Anna off at the bus stop, Joe went on to do his normal morning chores, which consists of feeding, checking, and moving cattle and calves around. Jumping from the truck and chore tractor, Joe's morning is spent up and down our road, between our calving barn and down the road to the other pastures and fields where our cattle winter.
He does a lot of running around.
So, after preschool drop off, I was going to spend a glorious morning, alone working on my talk for Friday.
At about 11:00, Joe came in, and announced,
"You know you have calm cattle when you can walk them home from town."
Apparently, our red bull and two of his friends, who are across the road from the calving barn, decided to take a walk. Town is also a relative term. The farm where our landlord lives is a mile (ish) from the city limits of Yates City (never heard of it...that's okay...it's only about 500 people). Anyway, while Joe has good fences around this set of cattle, you never know when a bunch gets a hankering to get out. You can try and try, but every now and again, a cow or a bull or a rowdy set of calves has to bust out.
Fortunately, our landlord was headed home from town and noticed a red bull and two others, evidently headed to the town's cemetary to pay their respects to someone.
Calling Joe, he reported their whereabouts, and Joe headed to the city limits.
Sure enough, they were ours. That's what's crazy about cattle. Even though as you're whizzing by a pasture of cattle that probably look really similar to each other, Joe and all other cattlemen know which ones are theirs. Breeds, color, and fortunately for me, tagging systems worn on their ears like earrings help identify whose cattle are enjoying a trip to town.
So, Joe and Lou (our cattle partner) located the escapees. Joe hopped out of the truck, and with Lou acting as a barrier, calmly guided them back to the road.
This is where cattle who are calm, well taken care of and trusting of their herdsman are helpful. Seeing Joe, their trusted caretaker, the bull and the two other cows calmly listened to the noises he makes when they need to move. He says something that sounds like, "Skell..." and they know it's him. Joe is also very calm in his movements and body language. No use getting a probably out of sorts animal even more riled up by yelling at it, so he just calmly moves and swiftly guides them to the right way.
He walked them back to the lot where they belonged. Thankfully, they weren't in someone's yard, and it wasn't spring, and they didn't have flowers planted that they were munching on, but it is a funny mental picture to imagine such event.
These are the things that happen to us. Not on a daily basis, but once in a while, we're allotted something that is worthy of a title such as this.
Thankfully, not every day does our bull need to take a trip.