You ever wonder about the twists and turns in life? Like, what if I had brought that trailer?
Well, let me take you on a little journey that happened to me recently. I've been on a quest, a quest to make life on the farm a bit easier. You see, I've been eyeing a skid steer to help move manure and bales around the barnyard. It's one of those never-ending quests for improvement, and as I approach my 50th birthday, it's more about saving my back than my wallet.
So, there I was, last Saturday morning, hustling to bale some hay. I left Anne in charge of finishing the job so I could embark on a solo road trip to Lindsay. My mission: inspect a skid steer. Now, I decided not to haul a trailer with me because I wasn't entirely sure if I'd make the purchase. Looking back, I'm thankful for that decision.
I arrived in Lindsay, checked out the machine, handed over the payment, and hit the road, my mind buzzing with thoughts. As nightfall descended and the dark clouds hung low, Google Maps guided me on the highway. But then came the moment when I left the main road for a shortcut down a narrow, gravel country lane. The scene was eerie, with trees casting long shadows and houses and pastures on both sides.
I was cruising at about 60 km/h when suddenly, out of the inky darkness, I spotted two glowing eyes at the height of my hood. Before I knew it, a massive black silhouette loomed right in my path. I slammed the brakes, tires skidding to a halt just inches away from a full-grown black cow, perfectly positioned as if it had been placed there.
That cow, though, didn't even bat an eyelash. It calmly sauntered back toward its home farm, disappearing behind a row of cedar trees. As a farmer, I knew this was a dire situation – a loose cow on the road could be catastrophic for both the driver and the farmer.
I decided to do my part. I approached the farm house and knocked, but no one answered. Undeterred, I spotted a light in a shed out back. Figuring the farmer might be there, I ventured across the dark lawn, through the trees, and hoped I'd find help. But as I peeked around the shed door and yelled, I was met not by the farmer but by a 1000-pound bull, steadily heading my way.
Now, at this point, you might wonder why I was concerned. You see, a bull is an intact male, and they can be rather aggressive. A steer, on the other hand, has been altered and is typically more docile. But in the darkness, with the cow being black and all, I couldn't be absolutely certain which we had here. As he came towards me it was evident he was not looking for ear scratches and a cuddle. I didn't want to tango with an angry bull I couldn't see, so I retreated to the safety of my truck.
With no sign of the farm's owners, I decided to canvass the neighborhood. Someone had to know how to contact the farmer, right? Well, the first two houses I visited turned out to be occupied by newcomers who had little knowledge of their neighbors. It was rather odd, to be honest.
Eventually, I found myself at the next house, where a family was leaving. They confirmed it was the Mennonite farm I was looking for but noted that they tended to keep to themselves.
In the end, I decided to take matters into my own hands. I investigated and confirmed that there were other cattle in a nearby pasture. It seemed likely that our escape artist had come from there. I felt confident that I had solved the mystery. But couldn't see any open gates in the darkness and resolved to waiting in the Truck between the Animal and traffic to keep everyone safe.
Just then, after a phone call home to share this rather eventful tale with Anne and about half an hour of waiting, a carload of folks pulled up. It turned out to be the owners of the farm and the wandering cow. They thanked me for keeping an eye on their bovine explorer, and I headed home.
So, you see, I'm quite relieved I didn't have that trailer hitched up with a skid steer on board that night. I'm not sure I could have stopped in time, and my 50th birthday would have looked quite different!