Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Cattle Corralling - Get along little Doggies

After seeing what I saw this morning, I have come to fully understand why it might be actually be possible that cowboys (well, maybe one or maybe just a movie cowboy) actually might have said:  "Get along little doggies" to their herd.

It was a beautiful sunny, 70 degree morning and I decided to get my walk in up to the park early while I had the energy.  The park borders some beautiful farm pastureland.  Sitting under the majestic oaks, just in awe of the morning, I heard in the distance a familiar rumbling that I had not heard for years.
I got up to look down the hill where it was coming from and sure enough it was an absolutely pristine red 4x4 pickup truck with a 20 foot stock trailer behind.  Definitely empty sounding, I watched to see where it was going and it headed up toward the hills where about 100 heifers were pastured.
I was thinking that there must be a corral somewhere over the hill out of site and they were going to tackle gathering up the heifers to move them to another pasture since it was pretty bone dry.  My head filled with past scenarios of when we had to herd cattle, or even worse, sheep, and all the havoc that ensued.  I thought, poor fellows, what a way to start a beautiful morning.
Livestock corralling was a day to be dreaded back when for us on the farm

I saw the cattle had heard the rumblings and had stopped their foraging and were watching intently at where the ruckus was coming from.  They started moving forward.  Soon the red truck with the huge trailer appeared on top of the hill and was beeping the horn. The cows started mooing in response. 

What the heck?!!!
First of all, our cows would have run away in horror, not toward, at the site of such a huge contraption, let alone the sound it made.

Then I thought, oh, ok, yes, the cows are expecting hay out of that truck and trailer.  Sure enough, the truck stopped and someone inside started calling the cattle. 
To me calling cattle is definitely somewhat of a therapeutic experience since you can yell at the top of your lungs in a sing song voice, nonsensical words, even throw in a few swear words, and it is perfectly acceptable...better still, the cows actually respond.

So these cattle start popping up their head all over the 10 acres or so of pasture and start cantering... then running up to the red truck.  Of course, some respond faster than others.  The truck would gather up some of the cows and start leading them away (after manuveuring that 20 foot trailer with such ease), beeping the horn, then stopping for more cows to catch up, and then moved out of sight again over the hill. 

What the heck?!!

This scenario repeated itself down on the other side of the hill...stopping, turning back towards the cattle,  beeping, more cattle popping up their heads, running towards the truck. The truck then turns back around and starts leading the cattle down the road.  Beep beep!  A disembodied voice calling them home.

It was like watching a cattle dog doing a terrific run. 
I just kept shaking my head in amazement, enthralled.  Just maneuvering that 20 foot trailer with such ease was a sight to behold in admiration.

After about a half hour of this...they finally got most of the cattle down to the entrance of the road and sure enough, there I saw where they had sectioned off a piece of pasture to corral the cattle in.
Ok.  I expected 3 or 4 men and maybe a cattle dog get out of the truck.

2 men got out of the truck and calmly, patiently -  and soon had the group in line, and shut a gate behind them.  Yes, there was a bit of a set back when there were some stragglers that got on the other side of the fence, but what struck me was the calmness.  No yelling, no waving of hands, no running after the strays...those little doggies (with a bit of prompting with hay) just eventually walked right thru that gate.

Good dog.
Whoops, I mean good truck...or good men ...or whatever.  Amazing
Good job.

                                                                                                   copyright 2012 Stepka