The Mystery Cow
When we arrived at the farm, everything appeared normal. We went about our normal initial routine of penning and feeding the sheep and counting the chickens. As I was planning my next steps, I noticed that there was a cow standing in our back pasture. We don't own a cow. Our fence was built as a fortress to prevent coyotes from preying on our sheep and chickens. It's a 6 foot no-climb horse fence, buried one foot underground with barbed wire 6 inches from the top. Since this was a very large cow, my obvious reaction was that the fence must have come down somewhere. We did two perimeter walks and couldn't find any breaks. With all the rain we had this past summer, the area where we collect our duckweed stayed underwater for months. A week or so before this, as the water in the ditch started drying up, we realized that the bottom of the fence in that section had rusted and disintegrated up to almost 12 inches from the mud in some areas. Since this put our livestock at risk, we already had a call in to our fence man, Wayne McQuaig, who is hands down the best in the business. But a cow coming under a 12 inch gap seemed pretty improbable. I started thinking that I was being punked. At least five people walked the perimeter multiple times and couldn't figure out how she got in. Mia was very excited and hopeful that we had acquired a new addition to the farm, and named her Petal. Turned out, she's a Miniature Black Angus belonging to my neighbor to the east. He acquired her from the lady down the road who said the cow had a habit of getting out and wandering around the neighborhood. Petal wasn't happy. She mooed pathetically and stared wistfully at her friends on the other side of the fence. The sheep weren't happy either. Petal wanted to be with them, but they just panicked and tried to run whenever she came near. I called a friend and we coaxed her out the back gate to join back up with her herd. In the meantime, Wayne added a layer of field fence to the rusted out section in the ditch. But we all keep scratching our heads. My best guess is that Petals ultra short legs coupled with her hefty weight may have caused her to tumble over and sink in the mud far enough to roll under the fence and come up on our side. The good news is that she didn't already have a name and Mia is crazy excited that they will be calling her Petal from now on.