I’m comfortably sleeping in our big cushy bed dreaming of…. What was that sound? I woke but lay very still, listening. There is something in our yard.
An interesting thing about Laos is that most all the animals here are truly ‘free range’. When you buy ‘free range’ chicken at the store in the ‘west’ it means the chicken touched the floor during its life and it got to live about a month longer, so I’m told by an ex chicken rancher. So, yes we have chickens running through our yard because the neighbors (who don’t actually live there) have chickens. We call the three that have survived until now “the Three Stooges”. A quick burst of “CHA, CHA, CHA!” will usually make them double back to where they came from. There are water buffalo that wander around the island. They are gentle and don’t cause much trouble. But the cows, oh these terribly stealthy ninjas that manage to always find a way to sneak into our yard in the middle of the night and clean out our garden!
One year we restarted the garden seven times! We tried bamboo fencing like the locals do, nope! She just crashed right through and munched her way through the fresh new leaves of the young plants.
Recently, one cow had topped off two of the two foot tall avocado trees Donna had been nurturing for the last several months, decapitated the young squash plants, cleaned out the ‘wandering Jew’ plants and ate the leaves off our best watermelon plant! We searched for where it could possibly had gotten in. Not by the tree near the pump, I had fixed that one really good. We checked the fence line and thought adding another level height of barbed wire would help… nope! It’s still getting in somewhere! Then we found that another tree on the property line may have been the culprit. All the land here used to be rice fields. As they plowed the land and planted rice the land height had lowered over the many harvests and trees are therefore elevated a bit on their own little hills. This particular one also has a large termite hill which we have been forbidden to tear out… “Spirits live there.” I put a fence up on each side of the tree. The mound is what the cow climbed over to attack our garden. So, I blocked that off with a bunch of barbed wire and more. I’m sure that they cannot get in or leave that way anymore!
Two nights ago I woke up with ‘that feeling’. I grabbed the flashlight and quietly stole my way out the door, onto the porch and turned it on to reveal @!%$& COW! It’s hot here right now and we sleep ‘au natural’ so I’m chasing this cow around the house, it is dropping cow plops as it freaks and runs. It tries to get out by the tree and there I catch it by the rope harness that goes through its nose and I yell to Donna, “Get the spray paint!” The cow is not happy, but then, I’m not either! She come running out to me (‘au natural’ in the Laos moonlight) handing me the spray paint and my dream of ‘cow graffiti ‘ has become a reality. One big, black peace symbol on each side of that big fat belly! I let her go figuring if I see her in the daytime I’ll know her!
What was that sound? Are you kidding me?
Sure enough, a different cow this time but now I had experience in cornering it. I got the black and the white spray paint ready found the rope and went to work. Chasing her around the house until I could line her into that place by the tree, slowly reached my hand towards her harness that wraps around her head and through her nose, and … BINGO!
I caught her easily enough, tied her up away from any of our plants, and though I didn’t have yellow I sprayed a great big smiley face on each side.
And went back to bed. It rained about 3 o’clock and I just rolled back over debating whether I should turn her loose in the morning or just wait for someone to look for her. I woke up bright and early and went out to see the cow about a meter from where I left her tied to a log in the back yard. I moved her around front while checking what damage she had done. Not a lot of destruction but she did manage to munch a couple of pots with a ground covering we were considering… were considering, but not any more. Apparently, some of these plants are cow magnets! There are some plants they don’t seem to care for but they are not fruit or vegetable plants.
I tied her up on our landing to the Mekong.
Donna woke up and we took some pictures.
I wanted to make the cow go for a swim, but Donna said, “No.”
I walked the cow on a “walk of shame” out through the neighboring guesthouse and let it go with a smack on its rump to set it on its way as it headed for the front gate which I realized was closed. No problem, like an olympic pole vaulter, the cow just jumped right over it!
Feral Ninja Cows! Damn! I need a higher fence… or more vibrant spray paint colors to work with.
Perhaps this will be my new hobby, animal graffiti!