Last week I saw a herd of cattle set up shop around the watering station near Landlady’s place, and naturally assumed they belonged to the ranchers who hold the local grazing lease. I was resigned but unhappy – they run hundreds of cattle through here when the grass permits, which means meandering cattle knocking down my stuff and shitting on it, all the large wildlife moving away, and occasional encounters with bad-tempered breed bulls which can be hazardous if you’re on foot. I don’t get a vote, but if I did I would much prefer the cattle to not be here.
But there were strange things about these particular cattle: For one thing, the cattlemen had done nothing to accommodate them. No supplements, and the well pump was still turned off. It’s a bad time to graze cattle here – it’s been super dry until recently and there’s no grass to speak of. The last time they ran a new herd out here when the grass wasn’t growing, they left quite a few corpses before they quit trying and rounded them up. And these cattle just looked wrong: I’m no expert but I know an Angus mix cow when I see one and these weren’t that. They were small, scruffy, brown, and looked poorly fed.
Last time I saw a small herd in advance of big ones, he said they weren’t his and that turned out to not be true. So when he denied owning these, I assumed he wasn’t telling the truth.
Turns out he was telling the truth. Now I’m all confused.
These turned out to be criollo, and were runaways from a ranch substantially to the south of here – they’ve been missing for weeks and must have been very happy to find a quiet place with open water. 🙂 I’m told they’ve been rounded up and herded back home.
And yes, that does mean that if an unscrupulous person found a stray, he could probably get away with eating stringy steak. No, I’m not an unscrupulous person.