We live in Oregon’s outback. Our part of Oregon is desert filled with juniper, sage, lizards, coyotes. Its not the soggy wet green zone most people picture when they think of Oregon. We love it. It has sun, huge skies, open spaces. We live far from a town, where no one drops by for a cup of coffee and a chat. Trips to town are planned for maximum efficiency in use of time and gas. Errands-to-do can be an all day event. Daily, as weather permits this time of year, the hubby and I ride our bikes for exercise and the sheer joy of it. We have miles of rural roads to ride populated by horses, cows, piggies, sheep, goats, irrigation canals, sagebrush, & juniper.
It is a place designed for peace and quiet, an artist’s dream spot that offers long contemplative time periods for creating art with no interruptions….or so it would seem.
Thursday was a “still good” Fall day and we wanted to get in a ride before winter descends on Oregon’s high desert. The husband-Dave was way ahead of me-so I can ride alone, while we can still do it together. The sky was alternately grey and blue and white, sunny and shady, and I was in my happy place.
As I passed a group of cows all hung together waiting for whatever cows wait for, I heard a metallic thumping. I stopped, remembered to to unclip my feet, and went to investigate. A cow was in a round water trough, totally upside down, head bent to the side, FULLY TURTLED, flailing with her legs. The trough fortunately had very little water in it so she was wet but not in danger of drowning. Good grief! How do cows figure out how to do these things?
Only a man with a tractor was going to unstick this lady and I knew it was far from feeding time. The rancher wouldn’t find his cow until early evening and I didn’t think she’d last that long.
Our area has many small ranches but most of the people who work them also have town jobs to pay the bills. Would I find anyone home to help StuckCow?
Looking at my disappearing husband’s back I turned to find the most likely home of the cow’s owners. I pedaled to a ranch house knocked, yelled, looking for a helpful human. As I looked back to the road I could see Dave had now doubled back and was pedaling like a soul-possessed looking for me. I yelled but he was too far to hear me. I took off after him but realized he was too far gone for me to catch and I returned to the hapless cow.
I needed help and my helper was gone in search of me. I flagged down a pick-up and asked the man to: 1st catch my husband and 2nd go to the little local store and tell them about the cow and hopefully they would know how to reach the owner.
I went to comfort StuckCow and let her know I wouldn’t leave her until her legs pointed down. She flailed her thanks. Dave returned, panting, happy I wasn’t in a ditch with feet still clipped in.
We decided he would continue on trying to find someone home and I would stay with StuckCow. I gave her a pat on one of her upright legs as Dave pedaled off. But I couldn’t just stand there. I flagged down the next pick-up that passed. We again conferred on a solution. He knew the owner and would call.
I went off after Dave. What a fun day of cycling we were having! Dave too, had found the owner and the rancher with tractor was coming to unstick his cow.
Bouncing down a dirt road, with bucket raised the rancher and his tractor made his way into the pasture. StuckCow stopped flailing and listened. The other cows who had gathered around to offer their support parted to let him get in position. He wrapped a huge chain around StuckCow’s neck hooked it to the bucket on his tractor and yanked her to her feet. Once on her feet she bounded out of the trough, stood long enough for the chain to be removed, and moved quickly away while giving the trough a long dirty look. Problem solved.
How does a cow get turtled in a water tank? Most likely she was going for a drink and some cow friend came up behind her and accidentally bumped her into it. I pictured a cow doing a full somersault landing on her back. It happens the rancher said, but not often. And yes, a full day of laying upside down most likely would have meant “hamburger” for that cow. She now lives to graze some more.
Dave & I pedaled off, happy to have helped SC, and happier to live in such a wonderful place to bike.
Friends ask what I do all day. No one to interrupt my work-we live too far away, no Starbucks, exercise gyms, places to shop. We must have an inordinate amount of time to get things done. But still we’re behind just like everyone else is. Too many things to do, too little time. I dunno why. Life just seems to fill my days up, despite my best of plans.