I got home a bit later than normal last night because I had to stop at the grocery store. They were baling the hay out in the back pasture so I went out there with the dogs to ask that he leave me a bale of hay. We sat around and talked for a while, then I went out to the way back field to look at it because it had just been cut. It’s so nice to see the open fields again. After the guys quit baling and went home, I put the sheep and cattle out into the back pasture and went into the house to eat some supper.
It was later than I normally go out to pick up the sheep and cattle. Too late actually, it was was getting dark. Gosh was it pretty out there though. The contrast in colors from the dusky sky, to the almost full moon and the golden hay. It was mesmerizing. Soon I realized however, I should have gone out sooner to look for the sheep and cattle. We found the sheep easy enough and I left them where they were so I could find the cattle before it got completely dark. They were in the same field they were in the night before, but much further back. Remember, there is over 100 acres of open pasture land behind my house and much of it still has grass on it taller than the cattle. When we found them, I considered going back the way we came, which would have been the shorter route, but it would mean pushing the cattle through the tall grass. Instead I had the dogs (I bring Gel and Fern with me on these search and retrieve missions) push them into the next pasture over which has been partially hayed. There is a very wide path cut through it. This pasture leads into the ones directly behind my house.
The cattle were not being cooperative. I think they were enjoying the grass and moon beams and were not happy about being disturbed. They kept turning on the dogs and trying to break off. They were not successful and eventually we got them back up into the ElectroNet. Then we had to go back for the sheep who had drifted deeper into the field we left them in. I brought Fern up on the ATV with me so I could send just Gel on an outrun rather than driving out on the ATV and picking them up. Because it was getting dark, I knew the sheep were going to be skittish and more than Fern needed to be involved with. We put the sheep up and I am sure both dogs slept very well last night. It’s hard work running through tall grass and they have to work much harder pushing cattle than they do sheep.
Fern is gaining valuable experience working with Gel. If Fern does something that is inappropriate, I simply growl her name. I want her to figure out what’s wrong and fix it herself. Really the only thing she does on occasion is circle around the stock so that she crosses in front of me. Her lie down is solid now.
This morning I pushed the sheep and cattle into the side pasture and did my chores. Before I got ready to get in the shower I came out to check the side pasture to see if I could see the sheep and cattle. Nope. Got on the ATV and went in search of, again. The sheep were essentially where they were last night, I just couldn’t see them from the house because of the tall grass. We put the sheep up and then went back to where the cattle were last night. They were not there. We drove around for about 15 minutes before we found them: in the front pasture. This meant we had to bring them up the driveway past the neighbor’s rude pack of barking dogs. They were not thrilled with this, but Gel kept them going. Because they thought maybe they were going to get some grain, they did not want to go up in the ElectroNet and were pulling the same tricks that they did last night. That’s when I noticed Gel was not doing the fly-by gripping that he sometimes does. He would head the cow and if she didn’t turn off him, he came in straight and hit her nose. Good boy!
I wonder if the cattle are not going through some sort of terrible twos period, or maybe it was because it was so much cooler last night and this morning than it has been for a while now. I wore a sweatshirt while I was out running the dogs this morning and could have used an extra layer. The cooler temperatures are going to keep my gardens from drying out so much. There is rain forecast for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Fingers crossed.