Saturday, March 13, 2010


As stated in the previous post (please feel free to scroll down if you missed it), I live in the more rural part of what is in actuality a rather rural county—if you don’t count the beach resort towns that line the Atlantic Coast. My couple of inland acres back up to a large parcel of "Green Acres": nominally protected land. (I must admit, the county is doing better to limit development in some respects, such as limiting lot size out here in the sticks. Didn’t stop a house from going up in my front yard five years ago, though; it just squeaked by the lowest required size by about a square yard... Rats. I knew I should have offered the previous neighbor cash for that acre years ago.)

There used to be a riding center behind the now-treed former-hedgerow (we were all once farm fields out here many years ago); it was abandoned for reasons unknown to me, then some years back was leased to a woman who wished to rescue horses. But she didn’t stop at horses. Unfortunately, she also wasn’t as thorough about maintenance, either, and there were gaps in the fence.

Believing the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence isn’t, apparently, limited to humans, and various critters have found their way from their side of the trees to mine. I’ve taken in house cats that decided they too wanted to live the high life my indoor-only crew were living, rather than having to fend for themselves outside in the cold and snow...

Finding horses in my yard didn’t bother me in the least; worrying about them when they started wandering down my knee-deep-in-grass driveway towards a blind curve on a major highway did. (No, I didn’t keep them, although it was a fleeting temptation—I like horses and they were lovely in looks and temperament. I called their keepers and had them led back to where they belonged. You should have seen the well-tramped trail they had made along the back property lines! I think they spent more time out of their pasture than in it…)

Even with experience of various creatures showing up in my yard or on my doorstep, things got really interesting the drizzly spring Sunday morning in June when I looked out my front window and saw this:

Being who I am, I of course ran for a camera first to snap a few photos. Then I went outside to investigate the large brown cow placidly grazing in my front yard. But by the time I had gathered my wits (and stopped hopping around the house yelling "There’s a cow in my front yard!" to nobody in particular), the cow had moved. And when I stepped out onto my front deck and the screen door accidentally slammed behind me, the cow really moved. It, in fact, bolted off down the driveway at a pretty good clip.

Visions of absolute mayhem (remember that blind curve on a major highway at the end of my drive?) flashing before my eyes, I took off after the cow (planning to do what other than gaze in horror at the carnage when it met with a car smaller than it was, I have no idea) only to find it had stopped halfway down my driveway.

It had stopped because there was police car in the middle of my driveway right in front of it, with two police officers gamely standing their ground next to their cruiser.

[photo of said situation not taken out of respect for the nice police officers]

It seems that my neighbor had also looked out his window and had seen a cow in his front yard. He didn’t grab a camera, he called the cops. (Not that two men and a car would have stopped it; I have pretty much no experience with cows, but to me it was a really big cow… In hindsight, I’m lucky I didn’t end up with sides of beef in my drive; those men must have had nerves of steel. Or were too surprised to find a cow charging them to draw weapons.)

So there we all were, on a drizzly, Sunday morning in June, standing in my drive: the old man from next door, two of the county’s finest, myself, and a large tan bull. Yup, bull. (I may not know cows, but I know what a bull looks like.)

Things sort of went downhill—in a comical way—from there… I had immediately deduced that our visitor came from the horse rescue out back and figured he was probably friendly. I didn’t feel the policemen or even their car would be able to stop the bull if he decided to charge to the road again, so I did the best I could—no one else was coming up with a better idea. I went back to the house for a hank of clothesline.

I’m sure there is to this day an occasional mention in the police station of the crazy lady who tied up a bull with a clothesline to a utility pole and spent the next hour petting him until his owner could be found to take him home… But I don’t mind, because at one point in the back-and-forth communications with the police station to track down said owner, I heard the dispatcher on the other end of the radio go "moooo….moooo…moooo…." Which the officer on the receiving end took in stride. We have a respectable county zoo, and at least one of the uniformed gentlemen had been out on similar calls for other escapees. I believe he said something about bison, so a large cow was likely a walk in the park.

I don’t live all that close to the zoo, but having something more exotic than what was likely someone’s 4H project grown too large to keep show up in the yard isn’t beyond the realm of possibility. My neighbor voiced it before I could, in fact: "What’s going to show up next? An elephant?" I’m still waiting; a lynx or other big cat would be cool, too, so long as the dog isn’t outside at the time…

The bull’s name, by the by, was Teacup.