One week ago today, the kids and I met Jed in town for dinner. Afterward, Jed had to meet with the new renters at our old house and then he was going to swing by Harbor Freight because he had a coupon that was burning a hole in his pocket. I took the kids home and before we could even settle in, a neighbor pulled into our driveway to let us know that our cows were missing.
I guess while we were gone, they had escaped by swimming around the fence in the pond, wandered aimlessly through the neighborhood before hang out on this guys property, where he promptly took some selfies with them (so he told me) before coming to alert us.
I drove over to his place but they had disappeared into the copious scrub brush that is our neighborhood's natural habitat. I had called Jed on my way to let him know what was going on, he was on his way but was a good 40 minutes to an hour away. Daylight was fading fast.
He got home at dusk, drove around with a flashlight for a while but quickly realized that it was a lost cause.
No biggie, he could look for them tomorrow morning, right?! Um, not exactly. He was scheduled to flight out to Chicago, again, at 4am the next morning! Fortunately Jed was able to work it out so he could postpone his flight until later in the evening on Tuesday. We both went to bed optimistic that we'd find the cows in one of our neighbors yards in the morning.
Not so much, Jed drove around on the ATV and I took the kids around the neighborhood in the van and began to panic as I noticed that many of our neighbor's properties were not fenced and opened up into the large wilderness of county land that surrounds us. I began to think we may have introduced the first population of wild zebu into the Central Florida wild!
We posted signs around our neighborhood and Jed asked anyone he ran into if they had seen our small herd. Some had seen them and a few even tried to corral them for us but with no luck.
Jed's flight time quickly approached and we hadn't even had a glimpse of the cows! He had no choice but to call it a day and head to the airport. His brother had agreed to come out and help if a neighbor happened to come upon the cows while Jed was away.
I'm not going to lie, I secretly hoped that they wouldn't be spotted until Jed got back. At 7 months pregnant and with little experience in bovine herding, I had no desire to head up the recovery expedition. Alas, Wednesday morning a neighbor found them hanging out in his backyard and gave us a call. I called my brother in law who agreed to head out when he was done with work.
That evening, Jay, Jon, Katherine (Jon's girlfriend) and Jamie came over. The plan was for Jamie to watch the kids while I tried to lure Rhett back with donuts while the other two followed.
Things were going as planned until two things happened, a neighbor's dog, came running at us, spooking Scarlett and Major and that prompted Jay to walk over which sent Rhett, shooting off into the woods/swamp.
I was reluctant to follow but I didn't want to lose them. Jay and I trudged the line where the pond met the woods. Although I figured the stampeding cattle would have spooked any wildlife, I still prayed that I wouldn't run into any gators or cottonmouths!
We chased them around a swampy, fenced in field, trying to rope Major, hoping that if we could get him his parents would follow us home. Finally the three of them jumped a fence, and ended up running to another neighbor's property. This neighbor happened to be not only a police officer who had just gotten home but a mounted officer with the right kind of ropes for lassoing! We all lamented that he didn't have his horse with him! :)
The next 2 or so hours were exhausting. We chased the cows from one side of their yard to the other! Finally out of pure desperation, Jay, the police officer and Jon tackled Scarlett to the ground and wrestled a rope onto her. They tied the rope to the ATV and gently lead her home. Unbelievably, Rhett and Major took off running in front of her, went down the road (about a half mile), to our driveway and right into our yard where they waited for us.
We're keeping them in our backyard for right now, until Jed has time to work on the fencing over in the pasture by the pond.
Jay off in the distance, trying to catch Major.
No, my water didn't break, I went for a brisk jog through the swamp.
Just taking a leisurely walk through the neighbors yard.
On their way home.