Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

Free Range

on November 12, 2021
Photo by Dawn Pisturino.

Yesterday, I spent all day working on a paper for the university class I’m taking. My brain was mush by the end of the day. I just wanted to go to bed early. I had just gotten into bed when my dog started barking like crazy. Right away, I knew why.

The ranchers’ cattle were in my front yard, drinking up all the birds’ water. They knocked over the birdbath, broke a limb off my cherry tree, and left deep footprints everywhere. When I opened the window, I could hear them crashing through the bushes and clop-clopping through the yard. I was scared they would damage the water faucet and water meter. These cattle or so large and weigh so much, they could easily cause a lot of damage. Plus, the bull has horns at least a foot long, which really scares me.

I grabbed a flashlight and ran outside. They got scared and headed toward the road in front of my house. Luckily, they are scared of people and don’t try to charge at you. Once I thought they were gone, I went back into the house and back to bed. But not long after, I could hear them back in the yard, tearing through the bushes and cracking the limbs on the trees. I got a lantern this time and ran outside. I started yelling at them to get out of here and tried to steer them in a different direction. This time, they took off toward the north part of the yard and out into an open field.

I looked at the damage they had done and decided my husband could clean it up in the morning. I finally went to bed and slept. If they came back, I never heard them.

Why did I have cattle in my front yard?

I live in rural Northern Arizona. Miles and miles of open desert lie, unused, across the road from us. So, the ranchers use it in the winter for grazing cattle. They drop off the cattle in the fall and let them roam freely through the desert — and through the neighborhood. There used to be watering stations in place a long time ago, but I have no idea where they get their water now, except in my front yard. When the cattle stay on the other side of the barbed wire fence, it’s a pleasure to watch them grazing on the desert plants and just meandering around. But when they wander out of their allotted acreage, it becomes a problem, as described earlier.

For one thing, they stand in the middle of the road and block the cars from getting through. If it’s night-time and and you don’t see them, you’re going to plough into one and wreck your car. There are no street lights, and they won’t move out of the way.

Normally, they just follow a path along the fence and find their way back to the open field. But sometimes, they act like they’re lost and disoriented. They start mooing and wandering around haphazardly. I usually end up calling Phoenix at least once a season to let them know that the cattle are running loose through the neighborhood. I worry that someone will get hurt – especially a child – and they know how to contact the ranchers to come check on their cattle.

Arizona has free range laws which allow the cattle to pretty much go wherever they want. And woe to anyone who harms one of them! There are stiff fines for harming or killing one of them. I have no idea what happens if you accidentally hit one of them and wreck your car. It seems like the rancher should bear some responsibility.

But that’s life in the desert! Beautiful, barren, harsh, deadly, and spiritually uplifting. The free roaming cattle just add to its charm.

Dawn Pisturino

November 11, 2021

Copyright 2015-2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.


19 responses to “Free Range

  1. Timothy Price says:

    Cattle sure can wreak havoc on yards. But as you say it’s part of the desert’s charm.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That’s interesting! I don’t know if I just be an awe of it all or if I would be scared out of my mind? I live it south Texas and I see cattle all the time but it’s all has a home … LOL. Except this morning a weird thing happened… as I was driving my daughter to school which just happens to be in the middle of farmland …there was cattle all around her school and down in the drainage ditch, the police were trying to wrangle them up. Really I felt bad for the cows… they seemed pretty scared and lost. What a mess.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Neal Saye says:

    Dawn! What an eerily interesting experience to have. I’m glad no more damage was done.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. utahan15 says:

    literal lumberjacks
    need to learn to respect
    your boundaries girl

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sounds and looks very interesting around your property to say the least! Me I’m an easy one for animals so might be fun; I would be trying like you too but then I would go too far and be feeding them like I do even wild life and maybe get too involved in making sure they are safe! Maybe I like many animals better than most people? Well I know most people can’t help what they are at times for the most part being screwed up in a screwy world; they need lots more Jesus, and the ones that are really bad are the ones that piss me off; and they don’t care at all! But animals they seem all good to me over all, they just try living and being simple as God made them that way, not screwy and trouble like so many people seem to want to be! We people make things more difficult for them too often! I think its they are very humble just following along with the plan or instructions that God gave them; but too many people are high and mighty and not humble at all!

    Hey I saw this and was going to reblog it I love it so much to be honest but a time constraint made me hold back because I have to do your reblogs from scratch for some reason. So something I plugged into another reblog fits here too and here it is, a photo and video clip for now; and someone we actual mentioned recently here in your blog site is in this scene!
    Hope you get a kick or maybe a laugh would be better out of these animals! The scene is damn good what a great job they all did and you’ll agree!
    Brother Lawrence


    Liked by 1 person

    • Yeah, I need to figure out why the reblog thing isn’t working. Thanks, Brother Lawrence!

      Liked by 1 person

      • No worries Sister Dawn. When you can because I have no problem constructing it when I have ample time but perhaps others have the same thing happening and that might make it better for you. All good!
        Those cattle I was thinking its better you than me because I’d be taking a trip to the hay and grain store and buying bales of hay! Then they would get too comfy and practically move in sleeping all over the place lol! Eventually I’d be having to get the shovel out and do the upkeep!!! Fun fun! I like watching those doggies on the range though!

        Liked by 1 person

      • You’re too funny, Brother Lawrence! We already put food and water out for the wildlife. And I don’t even mind putting water out for the cattle. But not in my yard!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. TallBlondeChic says:

    I’m wondering if you notice a certain time of month or pattern that they seem to go “off the beaten path”? I’ve read science journals that say there’s a whole correlation with the moon and atmosphere that throws them off and they all go in a certain direction and get a little “off”. You know, like when there’s a full moon out and people say “watch out for the crazy people”? 😂 I used to work in an Alzheimer’s unit and some of the residents would act very out of character. Good read, by the way! I felt like I was there with you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you! I think the main problem is that someone graded a road and bypassed the cattle guard. They used to get lost sometimes anyways, but the cattle guard helped to keep them contained. I was mad when I saw that because they did it for their own convenience. We also have more traffic on our road, and I think that upsets them. Thanks for visiting and commenting!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. You described just one more of those tales of human irresponsibility’s towards nature. Deserts are very fragile ecosystems and should not be burdened with life stock at all. But hey, as long you make a profit the law is on your side!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. balladeer says:

    Wow! That must feel odd when that happens.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. […] want to leave! They just stood there and looked at us when we tried to shoo them away. (My post, Free Range, explains the free range laws in […]


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