Apparently this happens often; cows get out and someone calls the sheriffs department and the sheriff calls the farmer they suspect is missing some animals. But being new to the neighborhood no one had my dad's number so they dropped by instead. After a long southern conversation that included football, food and cattle breeds we went back inside to grab a bite of our own cold supper before heading out. I drew kid duty for the night mission so my husband went with my parents out to walk the fence and try to find the missing beasts. They came back with clarification that the cows had in fact walked right up a gully and under the fence, where the stream had washed out the fence posts. The ladies were nowhere to be found that night.
What a morning it was with the fog rolling in and out all around me and the anticipation of seeing the beasts at any moment. I reveled in the solitude of playing sentry. After walking back and forth by the road looking for tracks (of which I only found deer tracks thankfully) I pressed deeper away from the road and into the brush beyond. As I neared the first backyard I looked up from my tracking efforts and saw the black back of one of the escapees. Around her I could see at least three more backs and could hear the contented munching of cows feeding where the grass is greener. Since I was alone and could not see all of them I didn't want to take the chance of spooking them toward the road or away from the fence. I fell back into position in the field and set myself up to be able to see if they left the poor neighbors yard. And I waited for reinforcements.
Help arrived. My step-mom and I pushed the cows through two different back yards. We waited for dad to come back with the fencing and made sure the gals didn't do any more damage to the neighbors property. The cows must have been anxious to get back to the herd for as soon as dad cut a hole in the fence they went right into the pasture. Fencing projects ensued for the rest of the day to keep them out of the gully. Head counts were completed and all 88 cattle were accounted for. And nothing that was originally on the docket for the day got done. Such is the life of a farmer, and his daughter on vacation.