Memories of a New Cattle Rancher
Scur the big bad bull
I was a city girl, corporate clothes, 9 to 5, five days a week in a busy warm office in the North West of England. Nothing could have prepared me for my first day alone here at the ranch with 13 cows and 2 very aggressive geese of undetermined gender who had very wisely been left behind by the previous owners. Monday 2nd of August 2004, Greg had gone off to Seattle for his "day job" with Boeing and I was home alone when the doorbell rang at 7.30 in the morning and there stood a very concerned neighbor and a soon to be even more concerned novice rancher. What could he mean my cows are out visiting all our neighbors yards, they were all tucked up in their field..weren't they? What to do with errant cows was not in the "how to" handbook, I had no cell phone, no vehicle and no idea of the boundaries .....panic seemed to be a good idea but not too productive, plan 2 (if I had one !) seemed my only option. I distinctly remember finding a new house under construction in the forest and 2 hunky builders who looked at me as if I had landed from outer space when I asked in my most polite English accent "excuse me, have you seen any cows ?" Somehow I managed to reunite the escapees with their allocated pasture and flushed with success and a new sense of confidence, a rancher was born. Scur the huge Black Angus bull was my next challenge, no respecter of English women with an over inflated ego and terrified of crossing the road he remained stubbornly on the wrong side of the road whilst his enamored harem happily munched their way through all the nice fresh juicy grass in the other pasture. All the "how To" books I had read and all the well meaning farming neighbors had warned me, (a) DON'T tackle big black bulls who clearly don't like you and (b) Cows coming into season (hormones) and bull (testosterone) in different fields add up to one big problem. I tried the persuasive route, clearly unimpressed, Scur resolutely stood his ground. Undeterred and equally resolutely I stomped back to the barn to regroup and rethink. Ten minutes later, ignoring all the warnings from all the farmers who knew much more than me, I returned armed with a pitchfork and a new determination, again requested the bull to vacate his field and join his ladies, again he refused...a pitchfork up the scrotum seemed to persuade him to change his mind and he almost jumped the road. That day a new saying was born in our neighborhood, "don't mess with an English woman holding a pitchfork". The cows and the bull are no longer here and we now buy calves from a well respected local breeder. The calves are raised out in the pastures and are totally grass fed, Alfalfa from Eastern Washington has been our choice of Winter feed but that is currently under review. We do not use growth hormones or grain when raising our beef and the cattle are processed humanely here at the ranch at about 2 years old.