Home Invasion

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Last month, I took advantage of the small break we had from torrential precipitation to do some gardening.

Power tools in hand, I combed the ground, trimmed the hedges, arranged some decorative stone circles, positioned some lawn gnomes, and did a whole lot of bushwhacking. I could tell it had been a while since someone gave my unit a little TLC, and since I was reasonably situated at this point, I dedicated some time to the task.

I was in the middle of using an electric hedge trimmer when I heard a noise. I looked back to see that right behind me on the other side of my wire fence, was a cow watching me.

“Hi.” I said. We stared at each other a few seconds, then I went back to work. Weird.

I moved to a higher part of my yard to continue my work, and saw movement out of the corner of my eye. I looked again and there were more cows, slowly encroaching upon the property line.

“Hey ladies.” I said again. This was the first time I had seen them this close to my unit.

For a little backstory, the ranch came with 7 cows and 1 bull. The bull is usually penned up by himself, and the cows are left to free-graze all over the property, but I had never actually seen the cows venture this far up the mountain.

I returned to hedge trimming. Anther noise, and I look back once more to see one cow find a low part of the wire fence, step on and over it, and begin climbing my hill.

Not just any cow; Black Betty.

(No, seriously, that’s her name.)

“No, no –” I began, taking a few steps in her direction to deter her. But it was too late. The herd animals followed their leader, blindly following suit. Soon, my yard was occupied by 6 of our 7 cows.

You know those horrifying moments in movies where something looks really picturesque or innocent, lulls the featured character into a false sense of security, then proceeds to turn on them and rip their insides out?…

What I thought was developing into a charming rural scene, where I continued to garden amidst the lowing of some visiting farm animals, suddenly turned into a home invasion made by some surly (and for the most part) feral cows.

Black Betty approached. I put my arms out much like how you would stop an approaching horse. She charged.

With limited options, I darted to the left and hopped onto my nearby picnic table. I had a hedge trimmer, but I was not about to resort to using power tools on one of the ranch’s cows.

I hopped off the other side and hastened toward my gate — hastened, not ran. I didn’t want to trigger any aggressive pursuit.

I opened my gate, and approached the nearest cow.

My neighbor had once said that the cows are basically like dogs, and if they start to go somewhere they shouldn’t all you have to do is yell at them and they’ll stop.

I was coming from an equine standpoint, and thought I’d push the barrel of cow to guide her out, and as herd animals, one would go and the rest would soon follow. I thought I’d basically blend the two ideas, yell “get” while pushing. After all, it must be similar to dealing with a horse; if you avoid the kicking from the front end (danger) and the kicking from the back end (more danger), then you’d be pretty safe pushing the side.

UNLESS YOUR COWS ARE FREAKING NINJAS.

This cow didn’t budge but was somehow able to side kick me really high on the thigh. Luckily, she didn’t stick the landing, and I immediately backed off, thankful no real damage was done.

I quickly retreated onto my porch and closed myself in. Later I learned that they only fear the bullwhip, which happened to be in one of the structures at the bottom of the mountain. And at that point there were quite a few angry cows between me and my car. So I could only stand and watch the unruly bovine gang proceed to kick my stone circles, trample my garden gnomes, strip my trees, break some branches, and take hefty dumps all over the place.

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Side note: that day also happened the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and I hadn’t gone to Mass yet. So after retreating further inside my house, I continued to watch them through the window, flipping any off that stopped to stare at me, and wondered if “I couldn’t leave my house for fear of being attacked by a herd of miscreant cows” was a valid excuse for missing a day of liturgical observance.

Thankfully, they did indeed leave my yard in time for me to make my descent down the mountain into town. Since this most unfortunate incident the fence around my property has been rebuilt and fortified properly.

They climbed the mountain not too long after to attempt a second raid, and being unable intrude, they just did some spiteful glaring from the other side of the fence before finally retreating back down the mountain. I stared smugly after them.

Not today, bitches.

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