I have some weird connection with an alternate universe. It seems that every time I pick up my current WIP and begin to backstitch, cows appear in my yard. This does not amuse me.
When our neighbor came to get his cows, I learned that checking fences regularly is a main part of keeping them (literally). In fact, I helped him check the fences adjoining our properties for cow escape routes. Apparently, we missed one as the cows came back, and Socks (the black one with the white on her legs) was already down the driveway about 10 yards through our open gate when I spotted them.
Of the four cows, three are all black as they are Angus cows, and the fourth one is black with white splashes on her legs as she is an Angus cow mixed with another breed that I don't remember the name of. They are all cows (female), but are not heifers (cows who have calved). I figured since we were neighbors and that we seemed to see a lot of each other, I might as well name them. Of the four ladies, there's Socks, Baby (the smallest), Middlin (the middle sized one), and the biggest, Bossy (because when you walk with her, she'll nudge you gently in the backside with her head if she thinks you're not walking fast enough).
Well, once again, I had to wrangle cows. I grabbed the five-gallon bucket that DH and I have taken to leaving on the porch for cow emergencies, chucked a couple of rocks in it, and shook it at the ladies. Bossy, Middlin, and Baby all gathered around me. And since they were all around me, Socks came back into the yard to investigate, which was what I'd hoped would happen. I then sauntered down and shut the gate.
Next, I went back to the house and put on jeans and some shoes. Then I went out and led the ladies around to the back of our property, hoping to find where they had escaped. I stepped in cow poop a lot as it hides well in goatweed. I could not for the life of me find their escape route. After about 45 minutes of this, I went over to a different section of fence that could be opened to let the ladies go back to their own pasture. Middlin went right through. Baby was next in line, but I had to really sweet talk her to get her to come through. While I was talking to Baby, Bossy wandered down the fence about 20 feet and ambled through it near a tree. AHA!!! Mystery solved!
Once the other three cows were on the correct side, they mooed at Socks. Socks is suspicious of me (probably because I've poked her in the flank with a stick a few times lately). The other three will let me scratch them on the head. Anyway, after much mooing back and forth at each other, Socks finally came through the fence and I closed the opening.
Then I investigated the escape route. All of the fence around our property is in really bad repair. All the wooden posts are rotted and falling over, the few metal T-posts are falling over, and most of the barbed wire is either rusted apart and falling off the dubious posts, or is so loose that it can be conquered by cows. Our neighbor had a small stash of old hog panels (4' x 20' long steel mesh), so I grabbed one of those and wrangled it to the hole in the fence. That took me about ten minutes. I'll bet it weighed about 70-80 pounds. But I'm a strong woman and I was determined to remain cow-free. I got the panel in place and managed to get it to stay there.
Note to self: never wrangle cows without wearing leather gloves to handle barbed wire (bobwahr to us Texans), always carry a knife and some rope with you to repair fences, and a pair of pliers to bend bobwahr with wouldn't hurt either. Wellies would be nice for your feet so you don't have to scrub cow poop off your sneakers and wash them. Again.