Pipi’s Pasture: The adventures of Homer and Jethro
About three weeks ago, we brought the cows and calves home to Pipi’s Pasture, but we weren’t finished with the gathering. As reported in last week’s column, we had to leave two bulls up country. They weren’t lost. We knew they were in the “first used” part of the leased summer pasture. They got there the day we rounded up the cattle — through a gate that had been left open and forgotten.
The “riders,” my brother, Duane; grandson, Kenny; and his friend, Tommy, tried to get them out. No luck. So we closed the gate and left them, concentrating on getting the rest of the cattle to the corrals to be loaded. The bulls had feed and water, so there were no serious worries about them.
At the time, Duane remarked, “I don’t know what to say about Homer and Jethro (not really their names). Maybe it will have to snow before they want to come out.”
Duane did spot the bulls that same evening, though. They had come back close to the county road, not far from the gate. So, we figured maybe they would be there the next morning. We figured wrong.
The next morning, the same riders got aboard their four-wheelers — with Lyle and me following along — and the hunt for the bulls began. Surely, the two bulls that will normally knock you over in order to be scratched would have calmed down by now. They weren’t anywhere near the gate, as we had hoped. The riders found them, but every time they got close to the bulls, they took off for higher ground.
So, this time, we left the gate from the pasture open before we left — also the gate across the road — so that, if the bulls did come down, they could go back into the pasture we had gathered from the day before.
The next day, it snowed, and Duane found the bulls huddled under an oak tree along the county road. They had come out of the pasture, sure enough. He lured them across the road with a little hay. He closed a gate next to the haystack so they couldn’t get into the hay meadow, reducing the chance they might crawl into the neighbor’s pasture.
The next Sunday, the whole bunch of us went back to the pasture. We saw the bulls, but they had a way to go before getting to the county road. I had what I thought to be a brilliant idea. I suggested that Kenny put a bale of hay and bucket of grain on his four-wheeler. The bulls know grain, and I thought they might be enticed to follow him. I was wrong.
The bulls were being as uncooperative as the other two days. To shorten the story, one bull jumped into the hay meadow, so the other one had to be turned in there with him. Then, it was a chase, the riders on their vehicles and husband Lyle on foot. At one point, Kenny was running on three wheels as one of the bulls was lifting the fourth with his head. That they finally got headed to the county road was a miracle.
After they finally got started down the county road to the corral, it was pretty much a piece of cake. The bulls were tired; their tongues hung out.
Lyle, whose daughter-in-law, Cindy has been urging him to walk more, commented that he thought she would be happy with the number of miles he had walked that morning.
And, when Homer and Jethro were home, munching hay in the corral, gentle as always, it seemed to us that they were thinking, “Oh, so this is where we were coming. We didn’t know.”
So much for the models that predicted a cool, wet summer for us here in western Colorado — at least I think it’s hot this July. Ranchers are probably relieved that it’s been a good haying season, and after the cool spring, it’s nice to have a “normal” summer, but it is indeed hot.