Dawn Pisturino's Blog

My Writing Journey

The Cows are Back!

(Photo by Dawn Pisturino)

Yesterday was a perfect, God-filled Sunday!

All week, we’ve experienced frigid temperatures at night and cold, windy weather during the day. The water we leave out for the wildlife has been frozen solid every morning. The poor birds walk around on the ice, pecking at the solidified water.

Sunday morning was sunny, bright, and calm, although the air was still crisp and clear. I smiled to see the baby coyote lying down in the sunshine in the backyard, waiting for his breakfast. He looked perfectly content, soaking up the sun, while disgruntled quail and doves milled around him with ruffled feathers, trying to stay warm.

A couple of hours later, a bull and cow wandered into the front yard, looking for water. Luckily, my husband was home, and he filled up a tub of water for them and moved it over by the driveway. But then, they didn’t 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 Arizona.)

The coyote, who had left earlier, saw his territory invaded by these two great beasts and kept coming back to check things out. They weren’t scared of him, which surprised me, and he wasn’t scared of them.

The coyote and the cattle were after the same thing – WATER! – and both were keeping an eye on their territory and the available water supply. It was very interesting to watch, especially since they were so POLITE about it.

I really felt God’s presence here Sunday morning, and it reminded me of just how PRECIOUS WATER IS! The animals know it. More people need to get a grip and realize that we can live without WiFi, Facebook, and other modern inventions. BUT WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT WATER! We can’t live without the basic necessities of life.

(Cow peering at me from behind the oleander bush. Photo by Dawn Pisturino.)

Dawn Pisturino

December 13, 2021

Copyright 2021 Dawn Pisturino. All Rights Reserved.

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Free Range

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.

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