The last day of 2014 was celebrated with a morning cattle drive at Thistle Creek Farms. About 25 cows along with a few calves and one bull were driven from the ‘lower farm’ right next to Camp Kanesatake to the main farm about 2 1/2 miles down the road. Thankfully the chilly morning followed an even chillier evening and the mucky muddy ground was frozen solid. Dogs and people alike were spared super muddy conditions, yippee!
There were a few key players in the drive. The first was the lead truck towing the full hay feeder. Not only did this hay feeder serve as a blockade to keep the cattle from rushing too far ahead but it also served as bait to entice the more reserved members of the herd along. Lastly, and probably the most obvious reason for towing the hay feeder out of the pasture at the lower farm was because it was full of valuable hay and an empty pasture doesn’t need a feeder full of hay.
The next ‘band’ of key players in the drive were the Border Collies. Mack, Riggs, Finn and Calla served as the ‘pushers’ and ‘gatherers’ in the drive. Their first task was to round up the herd at the lower farm and drive them to the main gate. The next task was to get them moving in the correct direction down the road toward the main farm. A few rascals tried to bail early in the drive and the dogs drove them back into the herd.
The final cast of characters in the drive, and probably, least important, was the crew on the four-wheeler. I can say this because my dear hubs was in this crew. I’m not trying to belittle the ‘humans’ in the drive because they are certainly important and very much so the drivers of the dogs and brains of the operation but they pretty much just supervised and guided the dogs to do the real work. I’m willing to bet that this team of dogs would have performed perfectly without their ‘drivers’ calling commands from the four-wheeler.
I love this picture. The herd of cows are wasting no time going where they need to go and thankfully the hay feeder is keeping their pace at bay. There’s a wide spread between the main group and the dogs which means all is under control and the dogs can take a breather. You’ll also notice the straggler of the group, a calf. Mack is the dog flanking the calf and gently coaxing it to keep moving by walking along side of it. The fastest dog of the group is next to the four-wheeler. Finn starts each drive or move at the speed of lightening and then slowly fizzles out until he’s accepted onto the four-wheeler for a ride on the last leg of the journey. Looks like he’ll have to walk that last leg. You’ll notice one of the dogs was lucky enough to hitch a ride on the four-wheeler, that’s Riggs, he’s the yearling-in-training and Mack’s son. His young age entitles him to special privileges. Calla, the dog to the far right belongs to hubs and I. Looks like she’s chosen to be unsocial for some reason; moody girl.
And that’s a wrap folks! Here’s George, owner and main man at Thistle Creek Farms. Trailing him is the main farm hand, Chris (not sure why he’s running up that hill!) Finn, Mack and Riggs were lucky enough to hitch a ride on the back of George. I guess Chris wasn’t so lucky.