Princess Buttercup, one of our two new heifers, disappeared without a trace the other day. It’s not like a cow to just wander off by itself. If one manages to bust through or hop a fence, she’ll usually follow the herd along the fence line, bawling her head off to be let back into the safety of the pasture. We’ve been so busy with wrapping up the semester, it was a day before we noticed we were one brown cow short in Ole 29’s harem. Besides, we’re in an enclave of farms flanked by a natural wetland area (i.e. a swamp); there’s not a lot of options for a wayward bovine.
In other words, it’s hard for a missing cow to stay missing. We did have one little gal emerge from the stock trailer only to be chased by that crazed Richard Marx, the meanest miniature jackass of a pony this side of Fish River. She hoofed it the length of the pasture, hurdled the south fence like a track star, and was never seen again. Poor Russ lost his money so fast he might as well have lit fire to it. As for Richard Marx, his endless summer nights were soon to be found at somebody else’s farm. Good riddance to that swoopy-maned jerk of an animal!
So, while we were both tracing the fence lines looking for evidence of a breakout, we were hoping that a disappearing cow would remain a once in a lifetime experience. Really, what are the odds? Even though it’s been cold and the snakes should be in torpor, I walked lightly and carried a big stick. I’m a little leery of Ole 29 without a fence between us. He kept his distance, but I could feel his eyes on me. He stayed by the hay bale, but like one of those creepy portraits that appears to be staring you down wherever you stand, he let me know he is all bull.
This is the sad part. Russ finally found Princess Buttercup wedged up under the tractor. Somehow, she squeezed between the fence and the machinery, fell, and got trapped. Her predicament defied logic; even idyllic farm life has its hidden dangers. She’s busted up pretty bad and things are touch and go. We’ve made her as comfortable as possible in our little cow hospital. She is eating and being doctored, but if she can’t get up soon, I fear the worst. We have been loving on her and keeping her company. She puts her giant head in my lap and lets me stroke her, tracing the sienna tufts of her forelock. If she pulls through, she will graduate from stock to family pet, bless that little cow’s heart.
Like I’ve said before, this farm lifestyle ain’t for sissies. It can be heart-wrenching, but I wouldn’t trade it.