Tales of 3 Birch Farm: Stampede

Farmher was going about her morning chore ritual and minding her own business. If we’re being honest she was grumbling to herself about how Farmer always ditches her with morning chores, but if she doesn’t help him in the morning he gets angry with her. How unfair.

It was during this self-pity grumble-fest that a ruckus occurred. She heard something that sounded like hooves and then suddenly the Guardians began letting out loud warning barks. She poked her head out of the old meat chicken coop, where two female rabbits and a couple of special needs hens are overwintering,  just in time to see Ferguson, her Jersey heifer, running full tilt down the back driveway. Oddly, she was coming towards the barnyard and away from the abandoned cabin that lies right on the edge of the property. Upon later inspection it was found that Ferguson had just about run clean off the farm before turning back, and Farmher hadn’t even noticed. Wrapped around Ferguson’s ankle was the electric spring that acts as a gate in the electric fence to get into the pasture. Dragging behind Ferguson, and still attached to the spring was a good portion of electric fencing wire.

Farmher instantly dropped what she was doing, leaving a blind hen very confused about where her food was, and ran after Ferguson trying to catch up. In terror, Ferguson threw herself back into her pasture. Unfortunately for everyone involved, the Farmers of 3 Birch use two springs to close up the pasture, each at varying heights. Ferguson had taken out the top one, but the lower spring was still in place. The spring that was wrapped around her ankle got tangled in the one that was still blocking the entrance way to the pasture.  

Let us all just take a moment here to realize the fence was not on. It hasn’t been for months because of the snow, and upon reflection Farmher supposed she’d been asking for this. Of course the Jersey would be the one to test the fence.  Massey, the holstein, on the other hand, does not put so much as a toenail out of place. During the summer months it had taken both Farmer and Farmher, as well as a bucket of grain, and a good portion of the day, to convince Massey to leave her bare and devoid of food pasture and move onto fresh pasture. She is a creature of habit and does not like change. 

Ok, back to the story. 


The spring around Ferguson’s ankle tangled with the second spring that was still in place creating tension as Ferguson kept bolting forwards beside being held back. Unable to take the pressure the second spring gave way with a loud snap that sent Massey, who had wandered over the the edge of the pasture to see what was going on, galloping too. Massey is large and ungraceful. When she runs it isn’t pretty. By this time Farmher had finally made it to the cow pasture, and attempting not to get trampled, yelled out “whoa!” to the girls. Massey, who isn’t one for a lot of strenuous physical activity to begin with and who was seemly startled still by Farmher’s abrupt shout, calmed quickly and came over to Farmher, but Ferguson, still in a blind panic, kept going and ran straight through an empty barn stall, jumped the partially finished sidewall, and threw herself through the vapour barrier plastic Farmer had wrapped around the unfinished barn to keep the wind off the heifers. Farmher was briefly reminded of the scene from Jim Carrey’s The Grinch when the star falls off the Christmas tree, as she watched in dismay as a barn sized sheet of plastic fell to the ground. Ferguson kept galloping out into the field, foam coming from her mouth at this point. 

In an odd twist of fate, the deep snow slowed her run and realizing she wasn’t making much headway she turned back towards the barn and proceeded to run in circles, kicking her leg out as she went, trying desperately to get the monster, that had clamped onto her leg, off. Farmher was still inching forward with her hands out, speaking in a calm voice. Lord, I’m gonna need you on this one! she thought extra loudly as she inched closer and closer to the panicked heifer. 

In one final, whole body kick the spring fell to the ground and Farmher, who apparently had been holding her breath since she first saw Ferg galloping down the driveway, let out a big sigh of relief and a heartfelt thank you to the heavens. Ferg lunged into her barn stall and backed herself up against the wall but was swaying and snorting uneasily. Cautiously, and careful not to move too quickly, Farmher stepped forward and picked up the offending, and now totally destroyed, spring from the ground and coiled the fencing wire around her hand then walked out of the field feeling somewhat like a boxing champion leaving the ring – despite not really doing anything but waving her hands around and praying frantically. 

After finishing up the remainder of her chore duties, Farmher returned to the cow pasture to check on Ferg, who was still huddled in the back corner of the barn shaking violently, blood now running from her ankle. Farmher sat down in the bedding a respectable distance away (as she has learned that all interaction must be on Ferguson’s terms) and rubbed Massey’s nose when the big heifer meandered over for pets and to sniff Farmher’s hair. She talked quietly to the girls, and finally Ferguson came over and licked Farmher’s outstretched hand and allowed Farmher to inspect her ankle, however she continued to glare at Farmher like this was all her fault.

As Farmher walked back to the house sometime later for a much deserved cup of coffee, she contemplated several things. Firstly, prayer works.  Secondly, how early is too early for whiskey? And thirdly, the only thing currently keeping her heifers in their respected area was Massey’s determination not to disobey and the fact that Ferguson had been traumatized.  She was also sure that the Jersey heifer, who never really warmed up to her to begin with, most certainly hated her now.


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