I am a Fucking Idiot.

Apologies to my more genteel readers for the title, but unfortunately it is very true.

A few weekends ago I spent a fair whack of time and effort running fence line. I blogged about how I was betting on the fact that fence, while very good was not yet complete and that this would be good enough, as the cows would be satisfied with the lush grass in the new paddock and still come up the hill to be milked.

Let me repeat, I am an idiot and that assumption meant I had two days of hell where I thought my cows might be gone for good.

Wednesday night I had footy and didn't separate Laf out at night. I do this occasionally when I get home late and I'm too tired to take some food up. I usually compensate by going up and beating the calf to the morning milk. When I went up in the morning Laf wasn't at the gate. Again, that's not that unusual as there is good grass down the bottom. I went down the path a bit, calling for them. I could hear some mooing down the bottom but no cows came up. Cursing their recalcitrance I gave up and went to work.

Thursday afternoon I called again but couldn't go too far as I had a guy coming to look at hooking up the top tank to the house so when we lose power we still have a water supply. After he left I went further down as the light faded but still nothing but distant moos. I was starting to get a little worried.

Friday morning I was up early and as soon as there was enough light I was off down the hill, calling and walking every path in the paddock. Not a sound nor sight. I even checked up above our house in a paddock on the hill the neighbour keeps mowed low and that the cows love. Nothing. I was really worried now. I love the cows, they are a massive part of Lantanaland now and a big part of it's plans for the future.

The only positive is that all three were gone, which meant that they'd probably gone wandering together. Considering we have hundreds of acres of thick lantana and bush next to us, it was a small comfort. Friday arfternoon I scooted from work as early as was decently possible bought a new blade for the brush cutter and came up with a plan.

Thanks to the technology of near map I know there is a set of yards and water in behind our place. I planned on going in along the western boundary through to the paddocks beyond and start calling. I stood on the deck planning my route when a flash of monochrome on the green hill across the valley caught my eye. I quickly grabbed the binoculars and sure enough, in the far distance, there was Dolores. I could see a patch of brown that was surely Buster higher up and then Laf wandered into view.

Whew. They were all still alive and together. Now I just had to go and get them. There were cow tracks of sorts on the eastern side of the valley but no real path. Time to fire up the brush cutter and imagine the zombie hordes were invading. It was heavy going down the hill, but as we got down lower the cow paths were heavier and older and once we crossed our back boundary line (which, until then, I had never seen!) we were in beautiful lush knee high grass paddocks. No wonder they weren't coming when I called.

The Wife and The Dog came and joined me as I walked up the far hill as I put the halter on Laf. Where Laf goes, the others follow. I gave the rope a tug. Laf looked at me pityingly. "Have you seen the grass up here?" she seemed to be saying as she budged not an inch.

Luckily The Wife (phd) is much smarter than me and had brought a loaf of bread with her. Laf quickly forgot the grass and followed us home in a stop start way, the other two trailing behind. Only took about three hours.

Saturday saw the brush cutter fueled up and going flat out. Simon, perhaps guilty he had tricked me into coaching two teams this year came down to help. By lunch all the posts were in and we were drenched with sweat. By late afternoon just about all the fence lines were done and a nifty gate to the dam installed. Except the two posts were too far apart and the post driver was up at the house. Damn.

No matter, a few hours on Sunday and the paddock was finished. My boss has a saying, a sale is not a sale till we have the money in the bank. Well a fence is not a fence until the bloody thing is finished.

Something I am not likely to forget in a hurry.

- Lantanaland from my iPad

Location:Lantanaland