We woke to a lovely sunrise, bright and early as instructed. The forecast was for a glorious day and it wasn’t wrong although still a bit chilly at 7.30. We loaded the trailer and headed for town for some fuel for the truck but Kelly had to do a few messages whilst we were there so it was 10am before we set off down a track, through the woods and across the field. Fortunately and somewhat surprisingly there were 6 cows with calves in the first field who seem to have made their own way back, only another 15+ to find.
Once we got beyond the watering hole Kelly started using her tracking techniques which led us into a swampy bog. Dale, her stalwart steed struggled to get through so she decided to take Roger on Kosmo (Dales’s brother) and send me back to herd up the stragglers and wait by the truck for their return any time in the future! Shadow seemed much happier at this prospect and we trundled back down the track until she pulled up short. My first instinct was that she needed the loo but on eliminating that reason, her pricked up ears made me realise that she had become aware of another animal. It had been so peaceful and quiet up until then, only her muted footsteps accompanying the birdsong, that I had been unaware of anything. Hopefully it would only be a coyote, not a bear or cougar but it turned out to be 3 or 4 large deer, possibly elk, watching us from the other side of the fence. It was lovely for them not to be scared and run off, we just watched each other for a while then Shadow resumed her steady plod.
We came out into the field with the cows and calves and had to disturb them from their grazing to gently move them on through the woods and on to the next field where the rest of the herd were collected. Somewhat reluctant to move we eventually had them progressing in the right direction at a leisurely pace. So much so that I could take pictures of my own little cattle drive! The weather was beautiful, the brilliant blue sky really highlighting the golden hues of the trees, hence all the photos!
We came through and up to the trailer where I dismounted and set about settling down for the indeterminate time I would need to wait. I sat on the dog blanket, propped up against a truck wheel and started going through the flyers in the post Kelly had picked up in town! Well I had nothing else to read. Shadow happily munched at the surrounding grass then suddenly stopped and stood stock still. Another elk? bear? coyote? wolf? etc. but nothing appeared. She continued to do this intermittently until I was ignoring her and then, the last time the statue pose remained and felt compelled to investigate. Down the path through the trees came 20 odd cattle and calves, eventually followed by Luvic the Roger and Kelly bringing up the rear.
The final job was to herd them all down to the roadside pen for counting. Kelly set off in the truck whilst we herded the, what transpired to be, 64 cows with calves across the fields towards her. All in all a glorious and successful day. We are possibly 1 adrift but Kelly can’t remember if that count included her bull and doesn’t seem concerned. The usual wanderers were all accounted for. We returned to a super lunch prepared by Hannah in our absence and this afternoon we are off to find where Mook and company have broken through their fence to join the bull, a retired cow and 2 llamas and the sun is shinning so no-one will be throttled today!