It was still dark when my husband, toddler son and I made our way out to the pasture for one last roundup.
The bull was already in a small pasture confined close to the house thanks to a power outage brought on by Hurricane Irma that left us with no electric fence for three days. The ladies, lovely cows each and all except Flop Horn who hates me, were still sleeping. We roused them. I called, I chatted, I tried to sound positive.
"Off to your new home this morning, girls. The grass is so much better! And no mosquitoes!" (We have a horrid outbreak of those too thanks to the hurricane.)
The girls were not impressed. They glared for a moment or two before they began staggering to their feet.
Normally I do not work cattle without a horse. I love using the horse. First of all, it's an excuse to ride a horse and I get precious few of those these days thanks to Mr. Harrison. Secondly, a horse has four legs and I only have two and I would like to save mine as long as possible. But this morning there was no time for a horse. Instead it was farmer cattle driving 101.
I politely persuaded the girls to head into the working area. (Toddlers also have a way of forcing one to say, "Please go into that chute and stop looking at me or you are going to be in trouble," rather than the more...colorful language I would prefer to use when being challenged by 1500lb cow. So, cows went in and the trailers arrived.
I know that most if not all of this county hardly took notice today as 27 cows and one bull stepped onto trailers and left this land forever. I wonder in weeks and months and years to come, as this land changes, if anyone will even remember that we were here. I will remember. I will remember the sight of those animals leaving, heading north for a new farm and new hopes and new dreams, even as I stood this morning wiping tears from my eyes.
Safe travels, ladies.