|Taking in that pine fresh scent|
|Freedom, drunk on piney goodness, wears the tree on his horns...always the life of the party!|
As we watched them play I remembered how we first came to find out that bison enjoyed playing with Christmas trees... Rewind back to 2007 when we were newbie bison ranchers and still made dumb mistakes. We had hosted a lively slumber party for our dear daughter the night before so we may have had a little exhaustion working for us. At the time we only had a couple of pastures and the pasture the herd was in was "land locked" if you will, in order to throw hay over the fence you had to be in the pasture to the left or right it instead of from the outside. So, we turned off the electric fence and headed through the gate with our wheelbarrow loaded down with hay. Since we took the wheelbarrow in we would have to bring it back out so we didn't close the gate behind us. Makes sense right? Well, bison are magical, one of the things we enjoyed then (and now) is watching them play. They were feeling extra frisky that day for some reason, maybe they knew what was about to happen, so we walked along the fence towards the back of the pasture and watched them running and bucking and kicking. That's when we got the great idea to let the herd over into the pasture we were in. Bison just LOVE to run through gates. So we opened the gate and ducked out of the pasture at the far end of the field and watched them play and frolic...WHEE! Right about the time we saw the open gate...so did they! We watched every single bison run through the gate into the great wide open! As soon as we recovered from the temporary heart attack we headed for the house. We opened all the gates and each one of us hopped in a vehicle. At that time we fed a little grain to the herd just to get them to like us, grain is like crack to a buffalo, so we threw a bag of grain in the back of the truck and tried luring them in with that...ha ha they had acres of uncharted field to explore, our bag of buffalo crack meant nothing to them.
At this point we had to call for reinforcements. I do not remember how but we ended up with a posse of cowboys and girls on quads and in trucks blocking openings and herding them towards the gate. The sight of our big bull Charlie running neck and neck with those quads, his mane flowing in the wind as he ran with that look of freedom in his eyes, was breathtaking. Well, when we finally had the last bison in the pasture and stopped shaking and swearing our undying gratitude to the bison roundup crew, we were able to take stock of any damage. There in the front yard, where trees from christmases past were lovingly planted, remained stumps! It seems as though Charlie felt they were giant bison play toys or he needed some cologne? We knew it was Charlie because he had pine boughs stuck throughout his mane for months! Thank goodness that was all the damage they did, besides shortening our lives by 10 years from the stress. Turns out he did us a favor, we needed those trees moved anyway for building the front pasture. ;) Needless to say we don't leave gates open anymore and are quite obsessive about checking two or ten times to make sure all gates are closed before moving the herd. It's much less stressful to bring the trees to them...
Happy New Year from the Ranchers!
|Charlie...the ultimate BULL-dozer|