Saturday, May 14, 2011

Cows, Critters & Bears!

Oh my!!

I mentioned a previous bit of land we once owned in my backyard post. As we continued to talk through our yard ideas and finally just decided to cram the trampoline in the back, on top of an old garden plot (ooooh, I hope it is a dry summer now, that will get muddy!), I commented to my hubby that the 2 acre yard would have been fab about now! Even the 10 acre yard! (Yes, 10 is more than 2, but the 2 was all field & the 10 was mostly bush - only a half acre to mow).

BUT the 10 acres had ponds & frogs and wood ticks by the hundreds. That yard had mice, which meant my house also had mice. At first I was all about the live & let live. I envisioned Cinderella'isk birdies chirping & butterflies fluttering about me as I released mice from the traps back into the wild.

Novelty wore off as they just kept coming back in. I turned into the terminator "Hasta la vista - mousy".

Between the ticks & the mice, we actually had a pest control issue with cows. Yes, the very large creatures that moo.

Back track a bit - we had a bear run through the yard. I was a tad concerned and asked a student of mine if bears were common (he lived a half mile up the road). He gave me a typical 14 year old know it all look and said. "Ah yes, Mrs. S, but that's what your dogs are for". My response? "Ummm, we don't have a dog". Cheeky response back "Mrs. S, you need a dog".

So, I went home and said to my husband, "We need a dog".

A week later, we had found a gorgeous little farmyard oops! We named her Darby and she was a big puppy! Half boxer, half lab. We never saw another bear after that, but she became very helpful with cows.

Being on 10 acres, we were 10 miles out of town. It was dark at night and the frogs in April were deafening when they were waking up out from the mud after winter. Our neighbours to the west were an interesting sort (perhaps worth their very own post!), to the other side was crown land (ie, more bush) and across the street was a mile section given to cows.

They were supposed to stay in their yard. I kept my kid in MY yard after all. It's only fair.

One morning we woke up and while still in bed, I commented to hubby "Those cows sound closer than across the street". He went downstairs and opened the door. In bolts a terrified 10 week, 25lb Darby. Hubby goes out and sure enough, there is a herd on our front lawn.

Know the damage hoofs can do to grass?? Those things have BIG feet!!! And they weigh a lot!

Hubby picks up some patio furniture pieces and starts banging them - effectively herding the cows out of our yard.

Darby watches for a moment and then it was like a light bulb went on! She caught up to hubby & started bolting around those cows. Herding them like she's always done it. She got them out of the yard and to the road.

Once at the road, she sat down at the end of our driveway. Just sat. It was like she really didn't care what the cows did from there, but they were NOT coming back into our yard.

Darby did good. She kept the cows out after that!!

That old house was such a bizarre place. The neighbours were the original owners and I really do think a whole future post should come of it! Stay tuned - I'll start with THEIR crazy dog!

We've had bears in our yard in other properties, but no more cows. Sadly Darby did not move with us when we left that house. She contracted a virus at 6 months and passed away. She was 50 lbs! I wonder how big she would have gotten over all. She was wonderful!

When our kids talk about our dog, they talk about Darby. She died the week I learned I was expecting my middle man - yet he's the one that will start crying while telling people about her. I will receive condolences as if she died last week. It was actually nearly 7 years ago.

But, we've not had another dog. No more cows, so no need for one really.


  1. Hi, I really just wanted to let you know that I really enjoyed this post. I love the picture of the cow. I bet that's how Darby saw them. I don't know what I would do if I woke up to find cows in my yard. We live in Charlotte, NC. I've had dear and we suspect maybe a bear but we aren't sure.


  2. So sorry about Darby, how sad. We have sheep in our garden during the lambing season as it's easy for us to keep an eye on the ones that need assistance. Cows however, I imagine are a bit more of a handful!

    Came over via Say Hi Sunday.
    CJ xx

  3. That is the one thing I hate about my parents acreage in manitoba...the ticks. Great writing Kim!