PO Box 2458, Tijeras NM 87059

Mountain Gardens--finding success with plants for the high desert and East Mountains of New Mexico

Monday, January 9, 2012

No More Bull...

What a greenhouse looks like after a bull browses through
Our cow tales (sorry) have come to an end (sorry again). The last little critter was captured and transported yesterday, thank goodness.

Our problems started last summer when the grass apparently gave out on the thousand plus acres (!) next door, and the cows started jumping the wire for greener pastures (our measly 50 acres) , or maybe greener greenhouses--I guess we just smelled nice. The mile long hotwire that had sufficed for our neighbor's horses didn't faze the cattle. They broke through in so many spots it simply ceased being a fence at all, and we started running barbed wire, bob wahr locally. One strand didn't work--those cows were the Houdini's of their kind. An hour after herding them back through the gate waaaay up at the top of the hill (huffing and puffing and looking for our pills), the dogs would start barking again.

The cows ate the trumpet vines around the west side, they stirred up the bees, they stirred up the dogs, they left "piles" in front of number two greenhouse. Soon there were piles everywhere. They started going into the greenhouses. The final affront was the bull who managed to break into number six and eat (or stomp) virtually every pot in there. We had a really big problem!

The problem was the calves. Those little guys would squeeze under the wire or over, then the moms would press through, and before you knew it, the whole gang was there. We ran more wire. Our neighbor pitched in, both wire and labor or we'd never have finished. He and Wink worked in the rain and snow, digging postholes, cutting trees and brush, and finally got the third strand (mostly) in. Still they came...

Wink started talking barbecue, but thankfully the owner of the cows moved them back down to the plains--all but one. One little bitty calf was out there getting thinner and thinner as the weeks went by because there was 2-3 feet of snow over the grass. Another neighbor gave us some hay and we started trying to catch the calf, but he was too wily. The owner brought in a mama cow to try and lead the calf out, but she was too wily and took off through the brush and deep snow (but not so smart since there was a mountain lion out there munching on one of her herdmates). Finally the owner set up some fence panels and tossed in a couple of bales of hay. We all drifted casually away, and after a couple of days the calf found his way into the makeshift corral where he was caught at last. Yee haw! That's life in the wild, wild west...

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