I really ask myself that question at times, it certainly seems that the gorgeous Charolais cows in our area do as they please.
Now before I tell the stories, I need to explain where our cottage is. OK, we are right at the top of a hill, in the deepest Charolais beef farming country, about a kilometer away from the nearest neighbour, our local farmer Thierry. The main road ( a tiny one lane, no markings road ) runs about 100 yards or so from our house and our little lane comes off it at a little crossroad. We are surrounded by fields, of course. On one side of our little lane is our cottage with the garden and lower field. Next to the garden is one of Thierry's fields, where he periodically keeps his cows. On the other side of the house, behind it, is another one of his fields, where he plants stuff one year, grazes the cows the next etc. This year he planted corn for fodder. Next to THAT field is a field which belongs to another farmer, who keeps cows there. On the opposite side of the little lane is our top field. We dug out a bit of the bank for a couple of parking spaces. Got the picture? Sort of?
Story 1, Cows in Corn, early on in the holidays.
My kitchen window looks out on to the field behind our cottage. It was planted with corn, which was still fairly small. One morning, nice and early, I was making a cup of tea, looked out of the window and was confronted by this
Somehow, a mummy cow and baby cow had escaped from the field on the other side and made their way into Thierry's corn field. And boy, did they have a great time! They munched and they rested, they munched some more, and rested some more
This went on all day, until late in the afternoon they finally had enough and wombled off again, I suppose back to the rest of the herd in the other field. We thought about calling the farmer, but realised there was not much point. We remembered that a couple of years ago, his whole herd had escaped and gotten into the corn field. We panicked and drove over to his house at 7am. He shrugged his shoulders in the way only the French can and said, doesn't matter, the corn is for their fodder anyway. Sooooooooo typical French, lol.
Story 2, a few days later, The Curious Calves.
I was doing stuff in the garden ( heck, I can't remember what, lol ) when I heard some "mooooes" coming from an unexpected direction. A quick glance over the garden gate, and my suspicions were confirmed. Escaped cows in the lane! Very curious baby cows at that. Now a few baby cows I can handle, I have been known to herd calves back to their mummies ( and very scary daddies ) before.
See? No problem, lots of arm waving and a bit of shouting, and the turned tail and ran off to where they had come from. At least I hope so, lol. They did go in the right direction, and I could hear mummy cows calling
Well, that was easy enough, as I said, those adorable little calves I can handle, even half a dozen or so. But, what I couldn't handle happened a few weeks later........
Story 3, The Lost Herd
Scene - Andy and myself sitting in the cottage, enjoying a beer/cup of tea respectively and listening to some music, when I heard some VERY loud moooooooes. I managed to say " ohoh, that sounds way too close for comfort " before rushing out into the garden, and sure enough, there were some young calves right outside the gate again. Quick dash inside to get the camera, and the calves in front of the gate had gone, but there were a few more coming up the lane.
Ok, I thought, Lizzie, you spring into cow herding action again. Those cows must have come out of the field on the other side of Thierry's corn field. The other farmer's field. Standing in the lane about to start shouting and waving again, I suddenly heard a whole lot of mooooooes coming from our top field! WTF??? I climbed up the bank, and couldn't believe my eyes, there were loads of big, fat, massive, grown up cows in OUR field!, How the heck did they get there? Baby cows are cute, mummy cows en masse are scary
And they were all coming towards me! Quick retreat down the bank to the lane again, and I was able to watch them charging past me in the top field. Right above our Volvo. YIKES. Threatening to come down the bank, uhoh.....
Frantically calling Andy I jumped back into the garden. When Andy came rushing out, I asked him to jump into the car and try and find Thierry or the other farmer, and tell them about the escaped herd. And to save our car from being jumped upon by panicking cows, lol. So he went off in search of a farmer, and I went up into the top field again. The cows had wombled off to the other end of the field, where there is an exit onto the main road. But because we had strung a rope across the opening, like one does there, lol, they just turned round and came back again!
Boy was I glad Andy had gone off in the car, because they decided that the only way out of the top field was down the bank and they wanted to be reunited with their babies, more babies, which were coming up the lane
I beat a hasty retreat to the garden when they started coming down. first one mummy
then one very scary biiiig daddy
just wanting to be reunited with their darling babies
All in all there must have been at least 25 cows. And I wasn't going to herd that lot anywhere! There was so much frantic moooing going on, it got a bit scary. One by one they made their way down from our top field onto our little lane, and marched off, of course in the WRONG direction, towards the road
I don't know which one of the cows made the decision, but in the end they all decided to take the road to the left. In the direction of Thierry's farm, the way Andy had driven 15 mins earlier. He got back a few minutes after the last cow had disappeared round the corner, and I asked him whether he had trouble getting through the herd on the road. " Huh, there was no herd on the road" he said. What? Where had they gone? We checked the fields close to us, no cows. Andy hadn't passed them on the road either. So where had they gone? Of course his mission had been unsuccessful, you won't find a farmer at home during the day, so we couldn't tell anybody about the escaped herd. We spoke to Thierry the next day, he hadn't seen the cows. It seemed nobody had. And to this day, we still haven't solved the mystery of the vanishing herd, lol, although I am sure the owner must have found them.
So you see why I sometimes think cows rule at least our little part of the world, lol. But they do make the nicest neighbours, I have to say.