Ok, let’s lighten things up a bit here. The sheep are still all ok, Momma Hen is seriously considering moving out of the house and resuming normal life as a Hen, the weather is warming up, and Vellum has discovered a few shoots of green stuff that actually seem to be attached to the ground somehow! They’re really tasty – he keeps getting this goofy, dreamy look on his face as if to say “Wow, can you imagine if this stuff was everywhere? That would be sooo cool… I could just walk around and eat whenever I wanted!”
In short, although I don’t want to speak too quickly, I think we are getting on top of this “March” thing. Speaking of which, I fixed my calendar:
So. The other night, (I don’t know what night, it’s all a blur – maybe a week ago Sunday?) at about 2:30 AM, Raven, who keeps later hours than I do, was going to the bathroom before bed. Our bathroom window faces the driveway on the side of the house. Glancing out the window he saw, in the bright moonlight, a large animal walking up the drive towards the yard.
His confused thoughts were, quickly: a)The sheep are out; b) Why would the sheep be heading back into the yard; c) That is not a sheep; d) That is a cow. Just as he was getting to “There is a cow in the driveway”, a rather large bull came trotting along, following the cow.
Raven ran up the stairs to wake me, and I who for some not very good reason wasn’t asleep yet quickly threw on a sweater and ran outside with him to (I don’t actually know what) do something about the cows.
There were no cows.
Now, our property isn’t that big, and cattle – well – are. It took me maybe three minutes to get down the stairs and outside, and it did not seem reasonable to either of us that in that time two cows had simply vanished. But there continued to be no cows. We checked in the yard. We looked up and down the road, we scanned the surrounding fields. (Not a lot of trees around here, and did I mention the moonlight?)
The cows continued to not be there.
At this point I might have begun to question Raven’s arguably questionable sanity, except that in the light of the flashlight I found:
cow tracks. Very large, very fresh, very clear in my muddy spring driveway, cow tracks. They came up the drive, they appeared (although it was dark and quite muddy) to go down the drive… and they vanished. Rather like the cows.
Eventually, we got to sleep. The next morning in sunlight, I could see with utter clarity that two cows had come along the (dirt) road past my mailbox, turned up the drive, grabbed some hay from the bale at the back of said drive, turned around, proceeded back to the road… and vanished.
Later that morning, a pickup came by. They were moving very slowly, clearly looking for something. “Have you, um, lost some cows?” I asked. “Why yes we have!” So I told them what little I knew of their cows moonlight adventures. They examined the tracks. The one fellow in the truck was along specifically because he is a good tracker. He agreed, unfortunately, with what I had already determined – the tracks stopped at the foot of our drive.
All day they looked for their cows. More and more people got involved. Every now and then a car would speed past, presumably following some lead, and then slowly crawl back, passengers hopelessly scanning fields they had already searched and searched again, when the lead turned out to be a bust.
Finally, as the sun was setting, we saw a strange parade coming up the road: The cow and bull, ambling happily along the side of the road followed by a number of (very tired looking) guys on foot, three cars a minivan and a 4-wheeler. Raven tried to take a picture, but he was hurrying and the light was awful:
I wouldn’t believe me either, but some desperate photoshopping on the above, and look:
The tracker had eventually managed to pick up a sign of them considerably further down the road. They had left the road, walked up the treeline for a couple of fields, had themselves a little party by a creek, followed the creek halfway down to the lake, and were circling back along the edge of another field by the time he caught up to them. Must have been ten, fifteen miles of tracking cows through mud. Good times.