It’s not all about the chickens!

We learned last week that cows play an important role here at the Wood. Guess all the attention paid Suzannah — not her real name, of course — for her stunt in the mud, inspired the rest of them to see what mischief they could engineer.

So, a quick photo essay:

Yeah, no, they’re not supposed to march up from the pasture, across the patio, stopping to drink from the bird bath, and into the back yard.

Larry was taking a shower, glanced out the bathroom window, and yelled JANE! Kind-of funny, and I ran for my phone to record this historic event, (not Larry’s shower — the cows, of course) but the correct response would have been to call Ryan. Immediately.

Fortunately, Ryan was working nearby, but Larry, after pulling on his cowboy clothes, boots and spurs, couldn’t wait. (Just kidding about the spurs) This is Larry’s grass they’re pulling up, trampling, and he wasn’t having it. The cows are actually accustomed to following an ATV, so it wasn’t too hard to get them moving back over to the gate through which they’d come.

Except one little heifer got stuck on the wrong side of the fence. I’m going to stop here for some fun facts about cows:

Heifers are little girl cows, calves are little boy cows. Ryan told later told us that young heifers can come into heat as early as 4 months of age. Ours are at least 6 months old. Luckily, bull calves can’t produce sperm until year, roughly, so no worries on that score in our herd. The big bull, with us earlier in the summer, has done his job and is now spending the rest of the year sequestered with the other bulls. Should these bulls try to mate with a heifer, they would kill her. Ryan did not answer the question that raised, so no, I can’t tell you how or why.

Our calves are still, um, intact? The castration will take place this weekend, as will vaccination. After that, all the animals will be moved to a “green” pasture (been irrigated) until the winter weather forces a move into barns. Our animals are raised for the grass-fed market, so will be eating hay only until spring arrives and the fescue has again grown in the pastures.

Okay, back to the little heifer left behind. She was agitated, and it was a comedy worthy of Youtube to watch Larry try to herd her around the house and finally through the gate. Sorry I didn’t get it recorded.

But how had they gotten into that pasture, the Fish and Wildlife site? Ryan has a handy little tool that tests whether the hot wire is, in fact, hot. No one wants to learn the old fashioned way. Turns out, no, the wire was dead. The cows, then, had been able to just push a lower gate open and parade through.

Furthermore, with the fence dead, what about the pump from the well? Yep. Also dead. Gasp. The poor cows had no water, apparently justified in busting out to find something to drink.

Larry and Ryan consulted down by the barn where the circuits governing electricity are mounted. They flipped the circuit a few times, no result. Ryan checked some junction and found a crispy fried lizard, whose curiosity had been the root cause of the whole, cascading drama.

Otherwise, what’s going on? We’ve been trying to manage the flow of fruits and vegetables flowing in from the orchard and garden. This means, so far, blackberry-plum jelly, canned pears, endless pints of frozen tomato sauce, and last weekend, mincemeat and applesauce from the tree I think I showed you earlier that had broken off entirely in service of our kitchen.

The plums and prunes are ripe, and while the prunes are modest in number and normal sized, the plums are insane. And about the size of a shooter in the game of marbles. Of which, at least half is stone, so they’re kind-of annoying to work with. But we soldier on, grateful that we don’t have to feed a family over the winter on them. Interestingly, for those of you who like to can your fruits, it’s become impossible to find lids for the job. Like the toilet paper shortage which initiated this whole back-to-basics post-virus movement. I’ve had just enough to get us through, using second-hand lids and hoping they seal.

I think I mentioned earlier that Larry was considering the acquisition of a greenhouse in his determination to outwit the ground squirrels. Raise your hand if you think he went ahead with the idea.

Of course he did. Mitch and Allen are out in the garden right now (5:30 p.m. after their day jobs ended) pouring cement for the base. Here’s what the space looks like so far:

They’ve laid cable for electricity from the shed, and the actual structure is supposed to arrive in a couple of weeks.

But for now, I’m out of photos and out of stories. Back soon!