Beverley Scherberger

The only Writer / Editor you'll ever need.

#10 Good Ideas…

I feel like doing something a bit different today. I’m going to introduce you to a small slice of the idyllic life I lead in Cotacachi, Ecuador. No more 9 to 5 for me!

Those who’ve read my “About Beverley” page, know that I spend much of my time in Cotacachi, Ecuador, a small, rural village high in the Andes Mountains. We enjoy super weather, a year-round growing season with fresh fruits and vegetables, unpolluted air, and, usually, a much lower level of stress.

My husband and I built an adobe home here and the kitchen window looks out into our back yard. Recently, I’d had a layer of topsoil delivered and spread all over the yard to eliminate ruts and holes and to make it a bit more level. The grass was already starting to poke through the dirt and I just knew that, before long, I would have a nice, lush green lawn accented by flowering plants. A lovely yard.

We have a great view, too! The back yard drops off into a ravine with a babbling creek lined on either side by lush, grassy embankments. Beyond the creek on the other side of the ravine, trees kiss blue sky and, in the distance, a small farm perches on the hillside. Very pastoral… very calming…

I was washing dishes one day and glanced out the kitchen window to see a cow and her half-grown calf grazing on my new, peeking-through-the-dirt, not-yet-lush grass! Oh, no! They were leaving hoofprints and cow-pies everywhere! This had to stop…

Drying my hands on my pants, I ran out the front door, around the house, and spotted the long rope hanging from the cow’s neck. Okay, should be a simple matter to tug the cow around to face the ravine and send her and her offspring away. I’ve often seen young village children herding the cows to and from the day’s grazing patch. How hard could it be?

So I grabbed the rope and gave it a good yank. Well, since the rope was covered with about ten years’-worth of slimy poop and the cow weighed as much as my neighbor’s truck, absolutely nothing happened. She didn’t even blink. I, however, was not thrilled with my now-poop-covered hands that just three minutes earlier had been washing my lunch dishes!

She had a mind of her own...

She had a mind of her own…

“Alright,” I thought, “this can be accomplished another way. I’ll lead the calf away toward the ravine ~ Mama is sure to follow.”

Baby had its own rope so I grabbed that ~ I’ll admit, sometimes I’m a slow learner. The calf wasn’t all that old but the rope tied around its neck must’ve been in use for generations. It was covered with more poop than the calf could possibly have created in all its young life. But at this point, what difference did it make? Poop was poop and a little more wasn’t going to matter.

I tugged on that rope. I yanked. I cussed that little critter and still, nothing happened. Although considerably smaller than Mama, it might as well have been a small Ford pickup for all the progress I made. And to top it off, in my concentration, I stepped in one of their freshly-delivered cow pies!

I was mad, sweating, and covered with cow poop. This rodeo was going to end, one way or the other! I decided if I couldn’t turn the cows to go back down the ravine, I’d shoo them out to the street, up toward the entrance to our development, and out into the countryside. There, they could graze, they could poop, and I wouldn’t care!

So, no more ropes… I walked around to Mama’s right and waved my arms to shoo her toward the street. She had a mind of her own and didn’t want to go to the street but decided to head over to my neighbor’s yard. Maybe waving my arms wasn’t the way to go.

I walked in front of her and stopped. I did have a moment’s hesitation when I thought the Chevy half-ton beast wasn’t going to go around me, but she did. That was the good and the bad news. She didn’t run me over but she did seem to take a liking to the neighbor’s flower bed. Not good!

I tippy-toed between the flowers and managed to get her head turned to the left. The body had to follow, right? Wrong! She immediately took another two steps into the flowers and showed no signs of stopping. Well, maybe I could keep her moving and she’d go back out the other side with a minimum of damage…

Success at last! She was no longer in the flowers but was heading for the back corner of the neighbor’s lot. It didn’t seem likely she was going to be shoo’d anywhere but there wasn’t much she could do in the back corner lot. Okay. Fine. I was going to go wash the cow poop off my hands. The slime was beginning to dry and I didn’t want to think about what types of organisms might be in the poop…

After a liberal scrubbing, my hands were fresh and clean once again. However, the cows were still in the neighbor’s yard. I stepped out my front door, completely out of good ideas (I still considered the other ideas good ones, even though they hadn’t worked. It had to have been that particular cow…maybe she was ‘slow’, as cows go…).

Suddenly, a nearby man’s voice startled me out of my bovine-reverie. The owner had come looking for his missing beasts. At last! Where was he while ago when I was slipping and sliding in his cow-pies? I pointed to the neighbor’s back lot and said, “There!”

He nodded and plodded on across my fresh dirt and not-likely-to-become lush grass in his size eleven Wellingtons. I was relieved until, moments later, he lead Mama and Baby back through my yard to the tune of three more cow-pies. How much poop does a cow contain?

A lovely back yard view.

A lovely back yard view.

The rodeo was over, my yard was filled with hoof prints, people prints, and multiple piles of poop ~ but I was still determined to have a lush, green lawn. We now enjoy our pastoral view through a lovely, wrought iron $5000 fence. And in case you were wondering, the grass is coming along nicely and there’s not a cow-pie in sight!


Until next time…

“Read to escape reality . . . Write to embrace it.”   ―     Stephanie Connolly


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