I've encountered another New England first. Yes, I have and while I felt like a bloody fool the night this "first" occurred, I have found I have lots of company that thought the same as me! Yes, indeed, I be not alone THIS time.
Last Tuesday evening around 9:30 I let the dog out and I was standing on the deck waiting (not really thinking of anything, but that I should have had a jacket on because it was rather chilly). I looked up at the cloudy sky realising there was to be no super moon viewing for this guy. No, the clouds had rolled in so no giant yellow moon looking like it was closer than usual. Yup, I was thinking that when I started to hear something nearby in the woods. It sounded like cows, not one or two, but a heard of cows. They sounded like they were in trouble, the mooing was very distressed it was, and I grew concerned until I realised I live in the middle of a forest and there are no cows. But it sounded like cows, and it sounded like something was amiss so I ran inside and got me Mam since Tonya was putting the kiddos to bed.
"Listen there." I instructed her as she (who had the good sense) shrugged into her coat.
"Ooh my," she said, "dat sounds like cows it duz. Due ye tink dey are got loose and are lost?"
"I wouldn't be surprised by the sounds but we have no cows around here."
"Ooh ay dere be down dat way on da Mass boder." And she pointed in a southerly direction.
Well, this be news to this Irishman, I was not aware there was a dairy farm nearby, but then I found out it is not nearby.
"Ay, dere be dat farm ye go by down where da Turners live." She said.
"Turners? They live way the hell down by the river, we aren't near there. We are like a million miles from there."
"Yer exaggerating dere Gabriel, not a million miles."
"Okay, you don't have to get exact on me, I be just saying they aren't close."
"Dose are definitely cows. Ye need to call 999."
"999 is it? Have you forgot where you be? You live in the United States of Trump or did you forget that? Though how you could forget THAT I don't know." I mumbled to meself.
"All right! 911 den, jus call and tell da constables wot you're hearin'."
"What WE are hearing." I said getting me phone out. I was about to dial when a car pulled in me driveway. It was me neighbour next door. The mooing was loud and still going on. She got out asking me the ridiculous question if I could hear the noise. She is a selectman, so she was out looking for the "cows" but she couldn't see them from the road. They sounded like they were in the field behind me house, thus the visit. I got me torch and she got hers, and we both went down to the field and flashed it but nothing was there, but we could still here cows mooing.
Eventually the mooing sounds faded away to grunting sounds. Do cows grunt? Neither she nor me Mam knew the answer to that, but then the grunting faded and all was quiet. We Mam left us to go onto the town web page and it was lit up like a Christmas tree about the cows in the woods! Seems the entire town heard the cows and that encompasses a lot of area. How could that be everyone heard the cows at the same time, around 9:30 at night? Everyone thought the cows were in their yards and many, like me, went out to have a look around and nothing turned up. The next day the town over from us also had the same cow phenomena, but those citizens did us one better and called their local police (of which they have two to our one) and those two minions of the law went looking, but couldn't find the cows!
How was it possible that 23 miles of our little town and 6 miles of the other town, all heard the cow phenomena at the same time? How many cows were there? And with that much area there would have to have been a huge amount of distressed cows on the loose! How was it no one saw anything?
The next morning I took the wee one to pre-school and all the mother's and some dad's were hanging out at the front door with their coffees as they usually do. The talk was the COWS! Everyone in creation must have heard them, everyone but Tonya, who when Mam and I told her about cows in the woods, laughed and said we must be "tippling the Bailey's too much." Ha! Right you are Tonya, us and everyone in town. Geez!
Before we parents all dispersed, Charlie Baits showed up in his camo with huge mug of coffee. He was greeted as he always was, with "how's the huntin' Charlie?" and he laughed and said last night he wished he could hunt after dark.
"Hunt what cows?" One of the father's laughed. "You did hear the cows last night didn't ya Charlie?"
"Oh yeah I did. I would have loved to track down one of those bulls, I bet the rack was big from the sound of those grunts. Must of been two bulls I surmise each from another direction and those ladies they had to be west of the bulls calling like that. Was quite a sound show."
Well, we all stood there, jaws agape trying to figure out what the hell Charlie meant. Bulls? Racks? There were bulls in the woods with the cows? No way. Then by degrees it dawned on us when Charlie said, "Oh don't tell me you all thought those were dairy cows? Tell me as New Hampshire natives you've heard moose in rut. Oh come on now all of you, those were moose. Just ask Russell Jacks, he heard em' too. We were talking over our phones to each other when all that calling was going on."
Did we all feel dumb? Of course that made more sense and Charlie and Russell would know being avid hunters. But one of us tried to pooh pooh that.
"Yeah but Charlie how could the folks here and in the next town over hear that?"
"When cows go into heat their calls ring out across the forest. Easy to hear. The bulls grunt in response and that was what that all was. You ever go outside at night and listen? It is stone quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Well, sounds carry in a forest more than you know. Come on, think about it moose in a forest make more sense than loose dairy cows." Charlie pointed out.
That cleared the great cow phenomena up quickly. Since Wednesday morning, there have been moose sited in the woods, no moo cows, just moose. Though me Mam still thinks it was cows. I was treated to a siting yesterday but still she refuses to believe me.
|Right in our wood line, here be the proof, one cow moose taken through the screen window-- no way was I going out there.|
Everyone, with the moose sitings, have come over to Charlie's side, everyone but me grey haired, apple cheeked little Mam. She insists dairy cows were loose. No amount of explanation of a logical nature has so far prevailed.
"I don't know what your excuse is, I be from Ireland and we don't have moose, so really Mam?"
She just sits there over her cuppa mumbling how it all sounded like dairy cows. I can't let her get away with that, I have sent her sound clips of moose calling and rutting, and I know she knows now but she's too stubborn to admit it. Every time the subject comes up and I say moose, she corrects me with dairy cows.
Oh and to make you really happy, it be snowing. I know that will fill you with delight that we are about to get hit with 6" of the white stuff.
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