Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, January 05, 2007

Dragon in the Sky & Cow on the Road

The southern sky about 6:00 p.m. on New Year's Day contained a cloud looked like a dragon. The mountain under the cloud is Turkeycock mountain, which is about 12 miles long. That'll give you an idea of the size of this dragon. A big beast!

Speaking of beasts, Maggie herded her first cow today. She never had to leave the back of my 94 Dodge truck to do it.

I had taken Maggie down the road to run at the farm (and to get the mud washed off her in the creek so I wouldn't have to bathe her). Maggie ran flat out in her big looping circles. Then she ran some more. I couldn't tell where the running stopped and the border collie started.

On the way home, as we passed the dairy farm next door, I saw a cow cavorting (do cows cavort?) across the road. I slowed to a crawl. Maggie stood at attention.

The cows inside the fence were running back and forth. Not quite a stampede, but faster than usual cow movement. They either wanted the loose cow back with the herd, or else they wanted to join her. The loose cow wasn't sure about her direction. With Maggie's barking and my maneuvering the truck back and forth, I managed to herd her off the road.

Another neighbor had stopped her car down the road. After the cow was off the pavement, she inched forward and asked if I'd told the owners. I said that with Maggie in the truck I wasn't driving into another dog's territory. I'd planned to call the dairy farmers when I got home.

The neighbor said she'd go tell them. In the meantime, the cow took to the road again, with Maggie and me in hot pursuit. Actually, I passed the cow and turned around by my husband's shop, while Maggie's kennelmates, incarcerated behind a 5-foot chainlink fence, watched Maggie have all the fun.

This time I used the front of my truck to herd the cow back along its pasure fence while Maggie barked commands (or possibly canine obscenities). When the cow was going in the proper direction, I'd tell Maggie to be quiet and she would. Finally the cow came to the corner of the pasture fence, the whole herd turned and went downhill, and the loose cow followed.

By that time, the farmer, mounted on his four-wheeler, escorted by the neighbor in her car, and accompanied by one of the dairy farm dogs came speeding down his driveway. I pointed in the direction the cow had gone, and he turned that way. The dog gave a few perfucntory barks at Maggie and took off after his master. They disappeared down the hill.

Maggie stood at attention, ready to spring into action if given the slightest encouragement.
The neighbor and I turned our vehicles toward our respective homes. Nothing more to see.

Cows provide a lot more entertainment than a cloud-dragon. At least that's what Maggie told me.

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