My friends Nina and Jonathan White use the URL cowsoutside.com for the Website of their great cheesemaking operation, Bobolink Dairy. It’s a simple statement of a profound philosophy: Their cows, like mine, spend their days happily outside. We move them from pasture to pasture so that they can eat the best of what Mother Nature is growing.
But sometimes cows, like people, just want more.
To keep the predators out, I surround many of my fields with electric fences. When we need to bring something to the cows, or move them to a new pasture, we deactivate the fence (close the gate). But one night last week, we forgot to close the gate. The next morning, the ladies and the children–but not the bulls–were gone!
By agribusiness standards, Upper Meadows Farm is not a big place. But it IS big enough when you have to go looking for missing cows. I tracked them through the fields and woods for an hour and a half. Thankfully they didn’t cross the brook that winds through the farm. When I found them they were belly deep in brambles. OK!!, so a few less black caps this year. I guess they just needed dessert. Funny how when I told them to go back in they headed exactly back the way that they came. Just like recalcitrant children who know that if they make it ok NOW, they’ll be spared any real consequence. They headed back in the general direction of the pasture that they left and just another hour later with Bonnie and Megan helping with gates and an encouraging word they were back in R11 (the pasture that they exited 24 hours earlier). ‘ Girls just wanna’ have fun!’ -to quote the song-.