Posted 09-08-2002 at 07:10:56
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Came home from work one evening and my wife (who was a stay-at-home-mom at the time said "The cattle got out today!" I said "Where?" She said "I don't know where they went through the fence, but they came walking up the lane (from the back of the farm) and into the yard!" These were actually my Father's beasties, but my parents were on vacation in Arizona at the time.
I said "What did you do?" and she replied "Well, Phil (neighbor) was going past and saw me out there trying to get them headed back to the pasture lot, so he stopped and we got them turned in where they belonged."
At this point I had visions of a loooong evening fixing fence in the dark, with temperatures falling quickly, so I said "Delay supper for a couple of hours, and I'll go check the fence to see where they got out back there!"
I went to the barn to run water for them and put down hay so I could then run the fence. When I got to the barn, there were more cattle than should have been there..... About 60 instead of 30!
I went back to the house and said "I don't know who's cattle came walking up that lane, but they weren't OURS!" After explaining the situation to her, I got on the phone to see who's they might be. On the third call, neighbor Earl, a rather laid-back individual, said "Well, they MIGHT be mine! I'll come over!"
Earl and his brother arrived in a few minutes. We looked over the fence at the herd and he said "How many did you have?" I told him there were 32 total. He said "How many you got now?" It was nearly dark, and I said "Something close to 60! Can you identify any of yours?"
Earl scanned the herd and said "Nope. They're all black and they've got 4 feet!"
At this point, I proposed a deal. "Earl, how about I feed, water, and keep them all until Dad gets back next week, and you look for the hole in the fence tomorrow?" Earl figured he couldn't beat a deal like that, so we quit being concerned for the evening.
Earl fixed the fence, I fed the critters for a week, and when Dad came back, he and Earl opened the gate and let cattle out until 32 were left. Good neighbors can usually find a way to solve problems!
My wife has been known as the "Community Cattle Rustler" for over 25 years now!