Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Gift Of The Invisible Cow

A couple of weeks ago the invisible cow was back. Deep hoof prints and a trail of poo lined my driveway. I followed the trail down into the sunny utility meadow a ways before it headed into the dense tangle.

When the invisible cow first arrived, I met the farmers with the Montana plates on the front of their truck out searching. Exactly how far has your cow wandered I asked. Just from the valley below they said. I asked for their number in case their cow should materialize and for future cow wanderings. I called when the invisible cow returned.

The young farmer showed up a bit later after work at his other job to inquire. He was not sure if he was missing a cow again and would have to go back home to find out. He said he had found his cow last time in the next county. The grass is always greener, eh? I did not see the invisible cow after that.

You talk a little story in these type of situations and I was learning who my neighbors are.

Today the cow was visible. Twice. It was black with a red tag in its right ear. It was a couple of curves below my place and pointed uphill. I was headed to town for scaffolding and was not going to turn around. I'll just call later this evening when I get back.

There was a knock on the door shortly after I got home. A different young man was standing there. Are you looking for a cow I asked. Yes he was. I described the cow I saw, the time and location, but no I had not seen the cow on my way back home.

This young man with the visible black cow had a pasture right next door to the previous owners of the invisible cow. His dad had the pasture higher up across the highway and he wasn't sure if the visible black cow was his or his dad's cow. I told him the two houses across the highway from me had a lot of grass around them. Might be a place a cow would like. He said he had not been on that land since it had sold. Sold when to which owner I thought. You don't look that old.

His dad would be up later to look after he got off of work, he said.

You talk a little story in these type of situations and I was learning more about who my neighbors are.

A white truck drove slowly by while I was assembling scaffolding. I whoo-eed when it came driving slowly back down and walked up to the road. The young man's father and grandfather were out looking for the missing black cow that I had seen a second time across the county line as I was pulling out of the driveway to go unload the scaffolding at my place.

His father was of a certain age probably close to mine and had the same black hair, smooth dark skin and slim frame as his son. I wonder if they have some Cherokee blood in them. We talked story while grandpa talked to a young women who had pulled over to report sighting a cow just a bit earlier around the same time I had last seen said black cow.

He told me his grandmother used to own this whole mountain top. His father corrected him and said it was his uncle. He would have been a teenager like me when my parents bought this land. He said when he was a kid he would follow the cows home from here on an old road over the mountain to Upper Crabtree where they lived.

He gave me his number in case I should see any more invisible cows up this way.

You talk a little story in these type of situations and I am getting to know who my neighbors are and a bit more about the past history of this land. What about that old chimney and foundation over there? The next invisible cow might tell me that, though grandpa said if I had a block and tackle to just shoot the thing, skin it and take what I wanted. This particular cow has escaped before and would be going to market real quick.


Grace Peterson said...

Things aren't like they used to be with everyone so busy. I've heard that cows are notorious for lusting after the greener grass. :]

Anonymous said...

Quite a story! Coming from a suburban area, I am just learning how to "talk a little story" myself. Eventually you will find out about that chimney and we will be waiting to hear!


Lisa at Greenbow said...

That guy was mad at that escapee. We have been out birding and found cows out of their pastures.

This scenario takes me back to times when people let their livestock wander. They put fences around their gardens to protect them instead of putting their livestock in fenced areas.

A pleasant way to get to know your neighbors. It is good that they weren't there to shoot you instead. Not that you need a good shooting or anything. I am not implying that.

Lola said...

Wondering cows, people breaking to see what they can see. History in the making Christopher.
I too am anxious to find out who built the chimney----what connection they had with your land. Maybe the lads "uncle" or someone close.
Please let us know when you find out.

Siria said...

Very interesting! I love to hear all the old stories of the land and the people that were here. I too would love to hear the history of the chimney and who lived there. And to think they walked over the mountain to my neck of the woods! I knew we were only a stone's throw away from each other, even though it takes a while to drive it.

chuck b. said...

Lol--I would be way out of my element outside Clyde.

Christopher C. NC said...

Grace I was surprised that all these farmers had real jobs too and lets just say the fences around here are as old as the hills.

Bev, talking story is a habit of Hawaii too. I was pretrained.

Lisa I like that the neighbors get a chance to meet me in person too and find out who it is that is up there on the mountain.

Lola I know when my folks bought this place a lot of it was old pasture that had been let go. There were still cows across the county line fence at the time.

Siria he said they crossed Crabtree Bald which I believe is part of the Sandymush ridge line on the old Carter Mountain road just down from us. My across the street neighbor owns 700 acres up that road now.

Chuck you would find these young farmers quite interesting I am sure.

Pam said...

This post read like a little fable - perhaps you need to write a collection of fables from the moutainside?

I haven't been good at getting to know my neighbors. I often think to myself that I'll be better about standing at the mailbox longer, or waving to folks as they drive by - but I'm usually bent over, weeding something, petting a dog - and really, that isn't good sometimes. I wonder if there is an invisible cow that could come by?