I went with my Dear Brother yesterday to help him move a tractor from our (my family's) ranch to my brother's house. It's about a 15 mile drive from my hometown to the ranch. I rode with him in the farm truck and then I was to follow him back to his house - located just outside of town - while he operated the tractor.
This seemed like an easy enough assignment.
While we were there, DB decided we might as well feed cattle, too.
So we pull into the lots and he starts honking. This signals to the cows that it's time to eat.
We wait a couple of minutes, with DB honking at 30 second intervals, but no cattle come ambling over the hilly terrain. DB decides they must be on the back side of the ranch, so he drives through a set of gates and we head out - to the west - on a bumpy, dusty trail to hunt down the missing animals.
We follow the fenceline on the far western perimeter of the pasture, watching for the cattle as we go. After a few minutes, we come over a rise and follow the trail as it curves to the east.
So DB begins honking the horn in earnest; so much so that the horn begins to make a weird hrrmmmm sound.
And still the cattle sprint for the lots.
Finally, the lead cow looks up and realizes they are going the wrong way. So she cuts across the pasture, headed toward us. This is good. More cows follow her and trot our direction. We are getting closer and can see that we are missing more than half the herd.
DB continues honking, but no other cows appear.
The tired, slobbering animals have reached the pickup by now and are staring at us.
Where's the food? their eyes seem to question.
But until we find the entire herd, no one eats. So DB puts the truck in gear again and we take off across the pasture to the far eastern perimeter and continue to follow the trail until we get to the very back of the ranch.
No more cows.
The only logical place for the others to be is in the lots. The cow we thought was the lead cow was, in fact, just in the middle of the pack.
We turn around and follow the eastern fenceline, headed back to the lots, where we had also left the gate from the road into the pasture standing wide open.
The cows trudging behind us are not happy. They slobber and puff and grunt and glare. I swear they were glaring at us. I could hear the angry cow mutterings. "We were headed to the lots in the first place. You made us run across the pasture, follow you to the very back of the ranch, and now we have to follow you all the way to the front of this place?! Those cubes (cattle feed) are sooooo not worth it!"
But they follow us into the lots, where the rest of the herd wanders by the feed bunks, waiting for us to arrive.
Where ya been? their stares seem to ask.
The cows who followed us don't even bother with bovine pleasantries. They march straight to the bunks, shoving the others out of the way, waiting for DB to dump the sacks of cubes.
Once the cubes were in the bunks, they dove in - with gusto - and none of the others dared get in their way. Every so often one would look up and glare again, like, stupid humans.
I just pointed at DB and mouthed, it was his fault.
But the cows got fed, and the tractor got moved, and so life goes on in our tiny part of the world.