I offer this very cute picture as an apology for letting more than a month go by without posting. I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing—am I ready to start posting again? Or am I ready for an official hiatus?—and as soon as I know, I’ll let you know!

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We had snow flurries and sleet this morning. Mixed with rain. It was a funky morning!

 

We had a good frost yesterday morning and today. It’s kind of a relief—now the garden cleanup can commence.

ED took a walk on her favorite dirt road loop this morning and came back with these pictures.

 

 

I guess, if we’re going to have such lovely rainy weather, I should get out there and plant spinach and lettuce!

Yesterday was one of those days, the kind we dread, but later laugh about. It started with a call from the gentleman who owns the farm where our friend’s Dexters are staying, and where Maeby is temporarily living as she is getting bred by our friend’s Dexter bull. The gentleman had been trying to reach our friend to tell him the cows were out and running free, but our friend couldn’t be reached by either his landline or cell, for reasons involving lightening, poor reception and dead batteries, so our number was the next in line. ED and I jumped in the car with Joon and drove over to see if we could put the cows up and figure out how they’d gotten out.

 

When we got there, it was obvious how they’d escaped—through an elderly gate that had seen much better days. Where they were was another thing. We hunted all over for them, seeing a few places where they’d been, but not where they were currently.

Finally we knocked on the door of the folks who called us, and they filled us in on where and when the cows were last seen (at 10:30 the night before, under the apple tree in the back yard). So we headed up the mountain, which was the most likely direction for them to have gone.

 

It was quite a hike, up levels of fields with increasingly spectacular views, but the only real sign of the cows was some faint trails in the wet grass, that could just as easily have been made by deer. But we kept going up and finally we found where they had slept the night before—four cow-shaped indentations in the grass way up on the mountain, and cow pies scattered around.

 

I have to tell you a little something about our Border Collies. I don’t know if others have had this same experience, but ours are just not great trackers as a rule. Split has to either remember where she left the frisbee, or trip over it—it can be laying in the middle of the yard and she’ll run all around it and never be able to find it. Same with Joon and the sheep—if  she can’t see them, it’s very hard for her to find them. So we weren’t really counting on Joon’s help in finding the cows—only getting them back where they belonged.

 

So anyway, we’re way up on the top of the mountain, standing in the cows’ sleeping place, and we think we see where they might have gone into the woods. So ED sends Joon into the woods, telling her to ‘Get the cows, Joon!’, and Joon takes off. She is almost immediately lost to sight, but we work our way slowly through the tangle—no sign of the cows. But by now Joon had been gone kind of a long time, and it was very quiet, and I got a little freaked out—what had happened to her? So I made ED call her back, and after a few minutes, here she came crashing out of the forest, with this funny look on her face, like ‘Now what??” This time when ED sent her for the cows, we did a better job of following, and sure enough, there they were! Far, far in the forest, like strange, quiet woodland creatures—we could not believe Joon actually found them!

 

So back down the mountain we headed—the cows at a dead run, us a little slower, and we got down the mountain to find the cows under the apple tree in the backyard of the nice people who own the farm, and their absolutely gorgeous garden between the cows and the barn. Good grief. Joon didn’t have any problem moving them, though, and she did it with a minimum of damage to the garden. They did, however, manage to step in a yellow jacket nest with an opening the size of a paint can. By the time ED and I got there, there were yellow jackets boiling out of the ground—it looked like a yellow jacket volcano. We just ran as fast as we could by them, but once we had gotten past, we realized we were covered—I mean COVERED in the damn things, all trying their best to sting us through our clothes. My legs (in jeans) looked like a living tapestry—I’ve never seen anything like it. We brushed them off frantically while following Joon (who had a few of her own) and the cows to the barn. Somehow, we each only got two stings—unbelievable. There were still some tangled in my hair half an hour later when we got in the car to go home!

 

We managed to get the cows locked in the barn, and found our friend, who went down to rebuild the gate. It was lovely to get home, milk our own cows and have a well-deserved breakfast!