Some years ago, we lived in a back-to-front cottage, next to a paddock of cows, on the edge of town. I used to love looking out the window, watching those cows slowly grazing their way towards our fence.
Now that fence was rather a bother. It was a simple three or four stranded wire fence that was old and loose. It supposedly separated our territory from the cows’ territory. But the cows regularly ignored the boundary line. Every now and then (at least once a day) an adventurous cow would decide she would much rather be on our side of the fence. She’d spy our green garden grass, lick her lips and then take a flying leap at the fence.  Her whole body would wobble and sway, poetry in motion, and soon they’d be a shout, “There’s a cow in our garden!” The ever-ready-for-action boys would come running, armed with the trusty broom to chase the cow back to where she belonged.
The boys had a prepared plan of attack but the plan never worked. Callum would open the paddock  gate and Duncan would endeavour to herd the cow through it with the aid of the broom. But cows aren’t very clever. They never do things the easy way.  Ears pulled back, whites of eyes rolling, the cow would lumber right through the limp fence. And then she’d stop, look wildly around, foot caught in a loop of wire. We’d watch for a tension filled moment, and then with a violent flick of her leg, the cow would regain her freedom and go lumbering off towards the horizon.
The cows didn’t belong to us. They were agistment cows. I guess someone was responsible for them, but whoever he was, he was never around when there was a breakout.  It was us who seemed to be on constant cow alert. It was up to us to make sure they didn’t wander through our garden, down our long driveway and onto the road, and into the pathway of a speeding car.
One night we returned home late from a party. As we drove up the driveway, we saw two pairs of startled eyes in the rays of the headlights. Two cows were standing in our garden. We sighed. It was late. It was dark. We were tired. The last thing we felt like doing was chasing two cows back into the paddock. Could we ignore them? Pretend we didn’t see them? Would it be irresponsible?
We looked the other way as we carried the younger sleeping children into the house. We left the cows happily munching our grass in the dark.
In the middle of the night I was woken up by a noise. Footsteps on the gravel path! Instantly I was alert: “A burglar!” Should I pretend to be asleep and ignore him? Should I wake Andy? I gathered up my courage and peered out the window. I couldn’t see a thing. It was too cold to go and investigate and anyway, we didn’t have much worth stealing.  I settled back under the quilt and dozed off again.
Thump! Boom! I woke instantly. The bedroom wall was vibrating. Boom! Was that an earthquake?  No. It was the invader cows stumbling about in the dark, bumping into the house.
I lay awake for hours listening to the cows doing circuits of the garden. Crunch! crunch! as they strolled up the gravel path. And then bump! bump!  as they forgot, yet again, about the brick wall and walked into the house. Do cows have poor night vision? At dawn, I wearily dragged myself from my bed determined to drive those two intruders back over the fence.
At first I couldn’t see the cows but there was plenty of evidence they’d spent the night as our garden guests. There was a long and winding trail of…  moo poo everywhere. How could those cows have produced so many pats in just one night? Our grass had all but disappeared. And then I noticed my flower bed. The cows had neatly uprooted all my shrubs.
I yelled for the boys. They appeared with the broom and the cows were soon running towards the fence, their loose and fat bellies wobbling from side to side as they aimed for the gap between the wires. Twang! The wires vibrated, the cows shook their feet free and they ran as fast as they were able, over the grass looking for the herd, no doubt eager to relate the tale of their adventurous night.
It took the boys hours to shovel up all that free fertiliser and deposit it on the vegetable patch.
And what is the moral of this story?
Never put off until tomorrow what you should do tonight?
Short sighted cows should never wander about in the dark near brick houses?
For every unexpected  trespassing cow there is an unexpected gift of fertiliser?
Perhaps there isn’t a moral to this tale. Maybe I just wanted to tell you about those cows that used to live over our fence.
Several years ago, we had to move from that cottage. It was being demolished. We were rather sad to leave our home… and the cows. For years they’d been part of our lives, providing us with lots of stories to share with our friends who lived more normal lives. For who else had cows roaming outside their front door?
Now the cows are gone too. The paddock has been subdivided, marked out with pegs, ready to be sold. Soon there will be houses built where cows grazed freely. And probably no one but us will ever remember the previous occupiers of that land: that short-sighted, fence jumping, annoying but very entertaining herd of fat cows.



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  1. Very funny! We have runaway horses, here, but I'd rather have an adorable, dewey-eyed cow:D

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  2. Loved this story, Sue! God must have laughed heartily while He watched all this! I swear, heaven must have giggling fits when they look down on fumbling humanity ;)

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  3. Thank you for sharing mystory, Vicky and Mary.

    Yes, Mary, I'm sure God has a big giggle over our lives quite often.A good sense of humour must be one of God's gifts.

    Vicky - "adorable, dewey-eyed cow"? You should have seen all that moo poo. Certainly not adoreable... though very useful!

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  4. I love your stories - hilarious! You lead a most interesting life!

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  5. Thanks, Dana! I guess we all have interesting stories to tell. If I visited your home town I am sure I would be fascinated. I bet your life is so different to mine. My life can sometimes seem a little ordinary because I live it every day!

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  6. Enjoyed this story. Very funny. I remember watching cows across the street of a friend's house. They amused me even though they didnt move much!

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  7. Thank you Colleen. I used to spend hours looking at our cows too. They'd seem to move so slowly as they grazed, but then all of a sudden, they'd be right up at the fence. They always followed each other. How did they decide who was the leader? God bless!

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