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The difference a few years can make

Posted 6/27/2016 6:33am by Samantha Klinck.

My sister, Farmer Jen, gives me the most lovely things for my birthday. Twice now she has given me the gift of a fabulous story involving bulls, and better yet as the bull likes to escape on my birthday she gifted me with handling this all on her own! ;-)

This first fun event happened on June 25th, 2014. Here is the full account as told by Farmer Jen:

Today I twice had to retrieve my bull, Apollo, from the main road - the first time with the help of an unidentified man in a black pickup. I spotted Apollo on the wrong side of the fence through the window, and bolted out of the house as quickly as I could. A bull loose in the community is NEVER a good thing. The kind stranger happened to be driving along and saw the commotion. He stopped, put on his hazards, and corralled him using his truck while I opened gates and coaxed the beast back home (thank you, whoever you are), all the while my breakfast sat forgotten and congealing on the hob. The Funny Duck crew arrived shortly thereafter to assist me in getting Apollo out of the uncut hayfield where he had decided to make camp. DtBM (aka The Cow Whisperer) arrived quite unexpectedly (and fortuitously) and made the final move. Talking to Apollo calmly, walking beside him, coffee in hand, he lead the young bull back into his pasture without a hitch. Fences were then mended and we thought all was fine until... 

The second time Apollo escaped it was just me and our intern, Amanda. She was stellar in not only attracting all manner of biting insects away from me, but also getting the giant, stupid bollock-bearer back onto the property before he did any damage. Again, we walked him along the road, but this time no truck. I had to run to try and keep him from going past the driveway (anyone here tried to keep up to a stampeding bull??) but luckily he turned into the drive and headed straight for his ladies (PHEW!!!). We put him in with the heifers and would sort them out tomorrow. Fences were checked again, adjusted and we felt confident that was it for today, panic over. 

All was well, until I went to close the barn this evening. I hear a familiar bellowing from the crest of the hill. Mother Hubbard!!! I trekked up in the pitch black, being attacked by all manner of flying, biting things (Amanda where are you when I need you?!?). Armed only with my giant Maglite and my trusty dog by my side, I found the courage to face the bovine posse, all of whom were on high alert as we were surrounded by coyotes. I rallied them and got them all home, doing my usual call as I stalked ahead at pace. "Come on cows!". Cocoa was in the lead, and the rest of the herd, as always, followed her. Thankfully, this included Apollo, now forevermore to be known as PITA (Pain In The Ass). 

I then filled up their empty drinkers cos I forgot earlier in all the madness of the day, which likely spawned the wandering craziness. They were thirsty. Bad farmer.

Urgh. Wine. Now.

So now fast forward to June 25th, 2016. Similar events, but a much more seasoned Farmer Jen:

This morning I am thankful my fences are better and my knowledge of bovine behaviour has improved dramatically. As I write this I still have 2 bulls out of their pasture, but they've been stymied by a series of electric fences at every turn - there's only so many they're willing to push through I guess. The cows are hiding at the top of the pasture road, out of sight, trying to stay cool (it's 8:30am and already 20C). I have not taken them water so as not to stir up any activity. This will keep the bulls calm until help arrives. Buckets of grain are ready and I have a plan that does not involve running around like the proverbial chicken. I got all that out of the way last night, in the dark.

What excitement, and to think she left out the most exciting parts of this that happened in the dark whilst being bitten by insects! But for me, the best part is by the time we were able to get over to help her, she had taken care of it all herself! Amazing the difference a few years makes. Well done, Farmer Jen who I'm certain will yet again be receiving the Midnight Farmer of the Year Award!

Jen & Apollo