Sunday, November 20, 2011

The importance of good communication

Last Monday, our secretary at work took a strange message from our neighbor. The note I got said “Jim called. He said your cattle got on the trucks fine.” I thought about it for quite a while and finally decided he either called the wrong number or he had officially lost his mind. To our knowledge, we weren’t shipping, receiving, or otherwise doing anything with our own cattle. I dismissed it as nothing more than odd but went over and mentioned it to the hubby prior to leaving work. He had the same initial reaction as I did but we agreed to check the cows later just in case.

After doing chores at a leisurely pace, I went back to the house to start supper. About that time the phone rings… the 6 yr old answers and says “It’s dad. He says it’s an EMERGENCY”. When I pick up the phone all he says is “STALKS! The cows are out on Jim’s STALKS!” By this time it’s nearly 5:00 and daylight is burning fast. As per my instructions, I was to leave the kids at the house and head to the cows as fast as my 4-wheeler would take me. By the time hubby met me at said location, I had determined that about 30 head were in fact missing. It was already getting dark and the cattle were black so things were not looking good for the home team. I headed west on the 4-wheeler and I have no idea where he headed.

I should probably mention a few details to catch you up to speed with the scene… 1) cell phone service is rather hit and miss in our part of the world so our means of communication was pretty much non-existent unless you happen to hit a lucky spot on a hill. 2) Hubby didn’t take time to get the other 4-wheeler so his two options were his pickup and walking. 3) Hubby was supposed to be unloading cattle at work so there was a slight sense of urgency beyond our own issues at home. 4) I have not quite adjusted to the time change and didn’t quite understand that it would in fact be pitch black in a matter of minutes.

So with that, we are both out searching for said cows. I finally came across some tracks after what seemed like forever. Feeling rather Indian-like in my ability to track prey, I starting following them and checked to see if I had signal to alert hubby of my great skill. When I did reach him, all I got amongst the static was “HEAD WEST. THE COWS ARE WEST. GET OVER HERE NOW!!!” By the time I got there, he was 2 miles west of our house and was on foot attempting to herd 30 uncooperative cows back home. Keep in mind that gathering cows who’ve been out joyriding for the day is much like herding cats thru a rainstorm. We headed in the general direction of our pasture and by the time we got there it was nearly dark. We had just finished getting the gate shut when we heard a crash and a lot of rustling. Somebody had the bright idea to jump the fence and take about 10 of their best friends with them. Now we had cows in three different sections all separated by trees and fence. We finally got them all back together and were about to shut the gate when I heard more rustling. At this point it was pretty well dark but we figured out there was one lone cow left in the trees. She was less than cooperative coming out and in the meantime the others were circling back and coming back in. After some colorful language, a foot race, a broken gate, and something about the salebarn, they were finally all together in a new pasture. We still had to go fetch hubby’s pick up which was about 3 miles from the house and then he was off to work again.

The next morning I realized I had missed a call during the ordeal. It was a colorful, urgent message of his discovery of the cows and his request for my assistance at his location. I laughed out loud when I finally heard the message. So after our big adventure, it seems instead of “He said your cattle got on the trucks fine” it was actually “Your cattle are out on STALKS that are MINE!”

Communication people…. It’s important!!


  1. Too funny!!! Beautifully written. I like the part about salebarn utterances. Was the evening completed by a "Why do we do this?" conversation? Thanks for the laugh!

  2. Haha this is funny...if that would have been us in the story there definitely would have been uttering about the sale barn! I am forwarding the link to Dad to read. Excited to see you guys and the cows!


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