Thursday, May 30, 2013

When the herd turns on you . . .

Jake called earlier today to ask if we wanted to help him get the "U's" in.  I said, "sure the girls and I  can meet you at the barn in 20 minutes, when the cookies get out of the oven".  Since Jake didn't mention a need for my help nor did he insist on my help, I thought it to be more of joy ride.  Therefore I did not receive nor did I ask for any directions of where we were moving cows to or from.  I just followed along camera and two girls in tow.  Jake and Aaron went clear up in a wooded area to gather a group of cows in the shade.  The girls and I stayed at the bottom of the hill, hopefully to catch a great picture.

When the cows got to the bottom the girls and I helped to drive them through the valley. Jake disappeared, later I realized he had went to gather the rest of the herd just on the other side of the ridge.  After coming around the hill the herd was reunited.  They then needed to cross a ravine and move through a gate opening.  It is best to give cows the space to move through the gate hole at their own pace.  If you push the herd too hard they will turn on you and then break and it will be very difficult to gather them again.  It was at this point I realized, Jake hadn't called to see if the girls and I wanted an afternoon activity, but rather he need an extra bike and people.  I am of little value with a buggy and two girls I am not willing to risk injury on hillsides.  Jake on the other hand once this close to the barn with the herd, will risk life and limb to gather the herd. I guess that's just the cowboy in him.

We were almost to the barn, about the time where the cows always stop moving forward (because it is unclear where they are to be going) and then they tend to want to break back to where they came from.

They were breaking back and not headed in the right direction. To the right of the herd is a steep hill and the only other place to exist  is in the rear of the cows, as we keep trying to get them moving forward to the barn.  The girls and I avoid the hill side.  Therefore we were in the rear, trying to move the herd forward.  By accident we let a calf get past us, which rightfully made Jake angry. He went back on his bike to get the calf back with the herd.  He then rode quickly back up along the herd on the hill side.  Then from the buggy, with the girls all I saw was his bike tip over and roll, his body going with it.  I was mad and scared.  I jumped off the buggy and ran over to the side of the hill, where he was riding back up the hill and yelling at me to get back on my buggy (he apparently thought this herd was still going to the barn).  I was still anxiously wondering if the bike rolled on top of him.  Knowing Jake like I do, I knew that just because he was back on his bike and riding didn't mean he wasn't injured.  He is the type of person to finish the job and then go to the ER and find out that he had serious broken something.

Jake later said he jumped before it rolled over him.  It rolled a couple more times before he grabbed it (before rolling clear to the bottom). He flipped it back over and rode up the hill.

Luckily everyone is safe and sound this evening and the cows will be brought to the barn early in the morning when it is cooler and there are more people to help.

Gathering cows in style.

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