About 8:30 p.m. last night I received a phone call from my father, Bill, asking if I would phone our friend and neighbor and ask her if her cows had gotten out. Anywhere else in the world that phrase could be the basis of a prank call for 13-year-olds, but here it means exactly what it sounds like: there are mysterious cows on your property which need to be returned home. As cows aren't exactly the swiftest-moving animals, we then assume they must belong to a neighbor. All it takes is a few phone calls and their home is usually found.
We haven't had cows here on the property since I was a kid, so Joe and I had to go down and take a look. Sure enough, two black and white cows and one cream-colored cow (steers, actually) were happily exploring our hay field and tasting room pad. They were pulling bites off our baled hay and competing to see who could stand on the very top of the dirt piles. As my father explained, cows go nuts for fresh dirt. They love to stand on the piles and rub their faces in it - it's a bizarre thing that just seems to give them joy. If anyone has an explanation for this, by all means share it with me.
Anyway, upon finding out the neighbor was in another part of the state, we shut all the gates, parked a few cars in front of the space with no gate, and left them to play until her workers could come the next morning to herd them out, down and across the highway. Not much coercing was needed as they were pretty tame - they just followed the grain bucket home.
Our McNab Shepherd, Dexter, who came from a cattle ranch but has never seen a cow up close, silently followed them up and down the fence. He seemed to think that something should be done with them. I've only seen him stalk the water bowl that slowly and quietly.
For some reason my blog account is acting up, but I have photos of the cute little guys and will add soon...