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Saturday, September 14 2013

After arriving at the ranch and getting the cattle settled, we got about three hours of sleep ourselves before we had to attend to the real business of buying new axles and having someone weld them on. At both places the staff peeked under the trailer and said, (and I quote)

"Hit a pothole, huh."

I now have a better respect for potholes.

Anyway, the rest of the day was fuzzy. We went to bed early and went into a coma. I awoke from my coma to a most unusual sound. It sounded like a bull bellowing.  We don't hear this sound often with our bull, Bully (yeah, we're real imaginative in the name department. I wanted to call him Angus McBull but was voted down.) Bully is a very easy-going bull. He moves slowly and isn't a big thinker. We think he was probably dropped on his head as a baby, or perhaps deprived of oxygen too long in the womb. But he is a gentle soul and is easy to handle, so even though he's old and isn't much to look at, we like him a lot.

So I climbed out of bed to see what the problem outside was and saw this.

My first thought was "Wow, Bully sure plumped up quickly." (not enough sleep on my part)

Then he started moving and I realized, "Holy crap! That's not Bully and he's got our cows! He's taking our cows away!"

So I hauled on some blue jeans and went outside. By then he had the cattle by the front gate and was walking back and forth at the gate, bellowing at the top of his lungs. He was definitely NOT Bully. I started to walk down there to check him out and then common sense tapped me on the shoulder.

"Do you really think it's wise to go walking up to an already excited bull that you don't know, in an area where you have nowhere to run, at a time when your husband is asleep so no one will hear you but the copperheads. And as your crumpled body is bleeding on the ground, the rattlesnakes will laugh at you."

My voice of common sense can be quite cruel, but reasonable, so I opted to hop in the mule and drive down there instead.  Up close it was clear he was not Bully. He was pacing and hollering at a stray heifer on the outside of our fence.

She was lost and looking for a herd. She was young and scared so while he bellowed on one side of the fence, the young heifer bawled on the other side of the fence. The new guy was a beautiful bull but my first concern was Bully's health.  Had he hurt Bully when he took our cows?

So I raced off to the pecan meadow in search of Bully.

I found him pretty quickly. He was standing in the field by himself, looking a bit confused.

"Everyone left me," Bully said.

"Yeah, Buddy, don't worry. We'll get them back."

So I went back to the cabin to wake up Other Half. Even on a good day, getting him out of bed is a task, and I knew he was still tired from the trip up, but if you tell a cow man that a strange bull is trying to steal his cows, that will galvanize a man out of bed. Like a rocket.

He drove down there and admired the bull. Nice bull. The picture of youth and vitality. (Looked like trouble to me.) We just assumed that the bull belonged to a neighbor who had been leasing our property for his cattle. We figured that he hadn't been able to get the bull out before we came. No worries. As long as Bully was safe, we didn't mind how long he stayed.  We opened the gate to allow the little lost roping heifer to get in with our cows and everyone was happy.

The Big Bad Oil Company had taken down a forty foot section of our fence on either side of the driveway in order to put in a pipeline under our driveway. Since they were still working on it, they had temporarily replaced the good fencing with a flimsy wire "gap" that supposedly served as a fence but not to a bull like this:

 Believe it or not, there is a flimsy wire fence beside this bull. Not much of a barrier.

And since we had no desire to see him take down the wire gap and take our girls to parts unknown, we drove the cattle back down to the pecan meadow.

I was worried the bull would hurt Bully. Other Half and I watched closely from the safety of the mule, but then really, what were we gonna do if two Volkswagons get into a fight?

Fortunately, our bull is gentle and realized the new bull was much bigger and younger. The new bull barely glanced at ours. Everyone resumed grazing and all was well.

We spent the next three days trying to figure out who he belonged to. The first guy pointed us toward another neighbor, who claimed the roping heifer, but said the bull wasn't his.  What the heck?!!!  How could he NOT belong to either of these guys? We are in the middle of NOWHERE! (B - F - E!)

Anyway, Other Half just happpened to notice that there was a phone number on his ear tag. Not sure how we missed that earlier. So he called the number. The lady explained that her bull had a habit of wandering (a LONG WAY FROM HOME!) and that her son would be picking him up and taking him straight to the sale barn.

Other Half mulled on that. I could see the wheels in his head turning. He was thinking he might buy this bull as a replacement for our old bull. This is what he didn't see.

Every morning when I woke up, I drove around the ranch on the mule. Every morning that damned bull was somewhere else. He was a travelling man, always on the move. After the first day, our girls quit following him. He was a tall, dark stranger, but Bully stayed in the same 20 acre meadow with plenty of grass and a pond. Really, why wander over 133 acres with this new idiot?  Our girls are kinda lazy too, so they turned their affections back to Bully. 

Several times Other Half mentioned buying that bull. Each time I pointed out that if someone wants to take a bull that nice to the sale barn, he IS A PROBLEM!  On Monday morning the boy showed up with horses and within thirty minutes Rover was headed toward the sale barn. I drove back to the meadow to find Bully grazing peacefully.  He had cactus thorns in his face, and his testicles (OUCH!) and he's a bit old and moth-eaten, and not the brightest crayon in the box, but Bully is a sweet bull. He stays home, causes no problems, and consistently sires beautiful babies that gain weight quickly. So who needs a fancy new bull?

I saw that wistful look in Other Half's eye as Trouble drove away and hastened to point out that no matter how nice this bull looked, he had broken out of THREE other pastures to go walk-about. He had left his herd THREE times in search of something he couldn't find. There was one niggling thought that bothered me though. Our idiot cow Paisley, Queen of Trouble herself, was in season. I really, really, REALLY hope this bull didn't breed Paisley.  That's a match made in Salebarn Heaven.  Just sayin'.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 11:08 am   |  Permalink   |  4 Comments  |  Email
Comments:
On the other hand you could luck out with a really nice calf that would be worth keeping in your herd. Odds are against it though. Best of luck.
Posted by CarolG. on 09/14/2013 - 04:37 PM
I dunno, I bet Trouble's wandering ways probably have something to do with trying to find cows like Paisley! At least that's how it is with humans!
Posted by clairesmum on 09/15/2013 - 09:21 AM
I'd have named him Natcho! Those are NOTcho cows, NOTcho fences, and you got to go! I wouldn't have kept him either. Want to know when/if she has his calf!
Posted by Joanne C on 09/19/2013 - 11:04 PM
It'll be hard to tell if she has his calf or our bull's because she was in season at the time. 50/50 chance. On the other hand, if the little booger doesn't stay home we have a better idea of who the daddy was!
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 09/20/2013 - 05:50 PM

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