When the farmer’s away, the cattle will play.
    Glen hasn’t been sleeping well for quite a while now, so he mentioned it to his doctor when he went in for his check-up this spring.
    His doctor ordered a sleep study, which was scheduled for earlier this month.
    The day of the study, we hurried to get chores done so Glen could get to the sleep center on time. After we waved goodbye to Glen, our relief milker took care of milking, and the kids and I started homework, baths, and bedtime.
    I was tucking Daphne in when my phone beeped with a text message from Ron, our milker.
    The message said there were some dry cows out.
    I told Ron I would be right out to help him get them back in. I told the kids to go to sleep.
    I swear the cattle knew Glen was gone for the night. They must have been waiting for this moment ever since the grass turned green.
    It wasn’t just the dry cows that were out. Apparently, the bred heifers saw the dry cows frolicking about and decided they wanted in on the fun, too.
    Ron and I rounded up the group of heifers that was lingering around the barn. We got them back in the heifer yard and fixed the fence that they had taken down.
    Then we went looking for Stephanie and Stella, the two dry cows Ron had first reported out. What we thought would be a couple more wandering cows turned into a rather large group. There were several more dry cows and a dozen more heifers grazing in the pasture behind our manure lagoon. I guess the cows and heifers couldn’t wait any longer for us to let them out to pasture. Unfortunately for them, the pasture fences hadn’t even been turned on yet, thanks to dismal grass growth, so they couldn’t stay in the pasture.
    We herded the cows and heifers back into the dry cow yard and then into the milk cow yard. The milk cow yard is equipped with fences and gates that are inescapable. I figured that, since this group of escapees got a taste of fresh grass, they would be eager to escape again.
    I thanked Ron for staying longer to help me get the cows and heifers back in, and he went home.
    Before I returned to the house, I decided I should reinforce the section of heifer yard fence that had been dismantled. Those heifers, too, would be itching to get out again.
    As I walked back to the heifer yard, I found Stephanie, Stella, and Obsidian (a heifer) helping themselves to the dry cow grain mix in the bin by the shed. Somehow they disappeared while we were rounding up the rest of the troublemakers. It didn’t help that both Stephanie and Obsidian are nearly as black as night itself. I smacked myself on the forehead for not double-checking that Stephanie and Stella were with the rest of the dry cows before sending Ron home.
    I was able to direct Stephanie and Stella into the dry cow shed without too much trouble, but Obsidian didn’t want to follow the cows.
    She took off in the direction of the heifer yard. Luck was on my side, though, or maybe it’s the fact that Obsidian was once Dan’s show calf. Either way, she stopped right by the heifer yard gate. I opened the gate and only had to circle her around once to get her back in the yard.
    I walked around the farm once more, just to make sure there wouldn’t be any middle-of-the-night surprises. Satisfied that every stray critter was once again contained, I returned to the house to find two of our three children still awake. They said they couldn’t settle down due to all of the commotion.
    I got the kids settled down, finished a few chores, and tucked myself in, all the while thinking that it’s not very often Glen gets to sleep through this kind of excitement.
    Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 100 cows near Melrose, Minn. They have three children – Dan, 11, Monika, 8, and Daphne, 5. Sadie also writes a blog at www.dairygoodlife.com. She can be reached at sadiefrericks@gmail.com