BP’s Big Accident


I woke on Wednesday morning to the sound of the school bus idling for way too long in front of my house. I knew, immediately, that it had to be shortly after 6 a.m. because the bus was here, and that is late for me to get up. I’m usually up before Morgan goes to school and I listen to her excited rattling about her day. (She loves school.) I peeked out my window to see why the bus was there for so long and saw Morgan’s shadow running back to the house.

It’s not uncommon for Morgan to forget something and the bus driver will wait. I got up and made it to the head of the stairs as she plowed in the front door, ready to see if there was something I could bring down to her from her room so she could hurry back to the bus. I said, “Morgan, what is it?”

She said, “There’s something wrong with one of your cows!”

I decided that this could not be true because I didn’t want it to be, and I came downstairs and said, “What?”

She was talking about a mile a minute while I was already grabbing my coat and she was throwing down her book bag. She had told the bus to go on without her. I found the spotlight and we went outside. Morgan had been walking down the driveway to the bus when she heard BP fall.

The creek in the back barn yard runs close to the fence line. It had been raining for days. It was muddy and slippery. BP is not agile to begin with. She had fallen near the creek, very close to the fence line. So close that her legs had slid beneath the fence, where there is a strand of barb wire. Last winter, the donkeys had been in the back barn yard and had escaped a few times at the creek crossing and a few other places. I’d had one of my hired men place barb wire along the bottom of the fence all the way around.

Every time BP tried to get up, her front legs hit the barb wire. She couldn’t get up without causing herself so much pain, it wasn’t worth getting up.

And I didn’t know where my wire cutters were.

Morgan ran to the barn and came back with trimmers. You know, like for trimming small branches. I told her that wasn’t going to work, but she tried.

Then we tried to move BP. Which naturally didn’t work because she weighs 800 pounds.

I ran back to the house and called my neighbor Jim.

This is the last photo I took until it was all over. Morgan, waiting for me by BP’s side as I came back from calling Jim. (Morgan is inside the fence. That’s my shadow on the fence in light behind me at the house, from the outside as I took the photo.)

Jim brought wire cutters and cut back the barb wire along that section of the fence. That’s when we realized she still couldn’t get up. She was so close to the fence line, and in such a bad position, that she didn’t have room to get up. She was scared and shivering, and I knew if we didn’t get her up, she was going to die.

We decided to flip her. You know, flip an 800 pound cow. So that she’d be facing in the other direction, with room to get up. Only we couldn’t flip her. Jim headed down the road for another neighbor. He came back with Andy and ropes. BP had her head contorted backward, so I held her head forward, for fear she’d break her neck if they flipped her with it that way, and Morgan pushed from her belly while the men pulled on the ropes tied to her legs. (There was no way to get ropes under her middle.) And she was flipped!

She struggled to her feet, with room now to rise. When she got to her feet, she was facing toward the house, and standing so that she was crossing the creek because she had stumbled forward. There is very little land on the side of the creek that borders the fence. She didn’t want to go forward. She wanted to step backward, get on the other side of the creek, toward the barn.

Glory Bee was there, waiting, watching, wondering WHAT IS WRONG WITH MOMMY?!

I could just tell from the way she was rocking back a little that this was the way BP wanted to go. But she didn’t try to make the step. Not yet. She stood there for a long, long beat, just shaken. The four of us stood there, waiting, letting her rest. It was so muddy, I was afraid for her to step backward, the way she wanted to go. We discussed pulling her forward by her halter, letting her turn around then go back across the creek facing forward. She seemed completely exhausted, though, so we let her stand there, resting for a few minutes. (BIG MISTAKE.)

Then suddenly she made the step backward, and she went DOWN, slipping and twisting, this time falling straight in line with the creek, IN the creek.

While the banks on the creek here are hardly high, with her body straight down on her side in the creek and her legs folded and smashed up against the creek bank, she was in an even worse position than before, with icy creek water beneath her body and no way for us to flip her to put her in a better position. This was when, for a moment, I lost hope. My cow was going to die here. Light was dawning, slowly, as I looked down at my cow. It was very cold. And we had no idea what to do next. We all just stood there, staring at BP, waiting for some miraculous idea to occur to someone.

Jim said, “We can tie the rope to her neck and pull her head up, real gently. If we can lift her up a little bit, she might try to stand. But I’m afraid we’ll break her.”

Sometimes I hate it when everybody looks at me and I have to make the decision. They weren’t afraid of breaking her neck–they’d have control of that. What we were all afraid of was that she was going to break her legs. What we were going to do was attempt to force her to scramble to her feet in response to her head being pulled up. We really couldn’t save BP. She was going to have to save herself. And she was in no position to do it, and already shaking with exhaustion and cold, stretched out in icy water, hemmed in on both sides by the banks.

We all stood there for another long beat, then I said, “She’ll die here if we don’t.”

They’d taken the ropes off her legs while she’d been resting, so now they put rope around her neck, and with every hope in my heart, I told them to do it. It all happened in the space of maybe 15 seconds and she was on her feet! HOW she got on her feet, I have no idea, it was a miracle. And since none of us actually thought this was going to work, we were all standing there stunned for a few more seconds then I said, “We have to get her out of here!” I was so scared she’d fall again in the slippery mud. No resting for BP this time. We pushed and pulled and didn’t give up until we got her away from the creek and onto solid, frosty ground.

BP, fresh out of the creek bed and a little the worse for wear.

Jim and Andy, relieved to not have been involved in a “cow-breaking” incident.

There was a LOT of baked goodies here by Wednesday evening, after the food photo shoot. I packed up huge bags and it all went straight to Andy’s and Jim’s houses. I am grateful for country neighbors–and my cow. Who is still alive.


  1. Mandys says:

    Oh my gosh I’m so so glad she is ok. That sounds absolutely terrifying, for everyone involved. It’s so lucky Morgan heard her fall. The poor girl. I’d have completely freaked out. I’m so glad she is ok. Even though I knew she was ok I could feel my stomach knotting and tears welling up as I read it.

  2. MousE says:

    Oh how scary! Is she ok now? I’m so sorry to hear all this, Suzanne, excitement like this no one needs….

  3. Jane L says:

    She is so lucky to have you! i

  4. Sheila Z says:

    Can fence then out of that area? I suspect it will happen again if BP has access to that trouble spot. Glad the old girl is OK.

  5. Rah says:

    Whew! Great that it all worked out so well. May I just add that you have an awesome daughter, and some wonderful neighbors?

  6. Teresa says:

    I’m so glad that she is okay. :shimmy:

    Country neighbors, especially here in WV, are the best!

  7. kat_pecosa1 says:

    I just love BP! I would read your adventures in milking to my Mother before she died, we enjoyed your stories. I remember a video you did in the middle of winter. BP just walked to her milking station – waiting on you like clockwork. She knew her job whether you did or not, she was patient with you… I think I fell in love with her then.. I can so identify with her – she has always been a working girl, and now she’s faced with a new life – retirement!! I am so thankful for the miracle – because I know you love her and it would be as bad as losing a family member!

  8. dl30f0dls says:

    Who knew that cows have guardian angels? With the timing of Morgan hearing her fall, you can’t help but wonder? I am so, so glad for everyone there on the farm that this had a happy ending. I can’t wait to check your site every day and see what new adventures have unfolded, but this is not the kind I hope to see again soon. BP, stay out of trouble!

  9. outbackfarm says:

    Aw, poor BP. I am so glad Morgan was there at the right time to hear her falling. She is such a good daughter. And to have neighbors to come help is so nice. So happy the BP is ok. I can’t imagine what the layout is and where the creek is. Maybe a picture of that? I bet you are worn out after all you’ve been doing, then this. Nothing like life on the farm!

  10. Barbee says:

    Those men saved her life. Without their help she would have died for sure. How timely that Morgan heard her fall, and that you had wonderful baked goods at the ready to send home with the men. Wow, what a story! Fear, challenges, excitement, and a happy ending. Reads like a short story. Is there an idea here?

  11. Anita says:

    WHEW! I was holdin’ my breath on that one! :cowsleep:

  12. CarrieJ says:

    Wow! My heart is beating and I felt like I was there. My hands and feet are even cold (I should turn on my heater). I’m so happy for you..great job everyone! Hopefully BP will stay away from the slippery side of the creek.

  13. Justquilting says:

    Wow, I think your sweet, dedicated girl needs her favorite dinner made tonight and BP needs a tracking device installed. You may need a nap this afternoon as well.

  14. Rose H says:

    Oh goodness, what an ordeal for poor BP (you, Morgan, Jim and Andy too) I would have been terrified.
    Good job!
    Rose H

  15. jeandf says:

    Wow. Glad she’s okay!

  16. wanda1950 says:

    Oh, Lord, It’s worse than having children. I’m so glad she got out ok.

  17. Jen says:

    What a miracle that she fell just as Morgan was outside to hear her! I so thankful she’s ok.

  18. whaledancer says:

    I’m so glad you told us the outcome before you told us the story. My heart was in my mouth, even so. What a terrible experience for all of you. I’m so glad you have the wonderful country neighbors that you do.

  19. joykenn says:

    What incredible neighbors you have! Those guys get a collective hug from your readers for dropping everything to mess around in the cold and water and mud. Working with LARGE animals like cows and horses can be challenging. They are SO BIG and can get into such awkward positions when they get in trouble or decide to go where you don’t want them to go. I’m thankful BP is OK and all of you are OK as well.

  20. auntbear says:

    jeesh..what a way to start a day.Thank the Lord all is well.

  21. amateisgal says:

    I am SO glad this story had a happy ending. *whew*

  22. denisestone says:

    Oh my gosh! What an adventure! Where is she now? I think I would have guaranteened her inside the barn after that episode. How scary!

  23. ramseybergstrom says:

    Oh no! Suzanne, so happy all is well, loved the pic of her resting in her pasture today. Thank goodness for you, your sweet girl and your wonderful neighbors!

  24. marrypoppinz says:

    Bless you all! I’m so glad BP lives. She’s a survivor for sure. Love all your animal stories. Merry Christmas to you and all your children, both human and animal!

  25. farmershae says:

    so glad she is okay!!! BP definitely has an angel on her shoulder.

  26. crannynanny says:

    The will to live is strong and BP has strength to survive this incident.

  27. Sue, a Florida Farm Girl says:

    Oh, my goodness! Woulda scared the wits out of me. Good for you, keeping your cool and taking care of BP. And thank goodness for good country neighbors!!!!

  28. pugwaggin says:

    I am so glad BP survived and is safe. God bless you, Morgan
    and your neighbors for working so hard to help her.

  29. Flowerpower says:

    Well that should get your heart jump started for the day. Poor BP! Glad Morgan was there to see it or she would be a goner. Glad it all turned out well. You do have great neighbors! :happyflower:

  30. Murphala says:

    Oh my! Sending BP best wishes and hope for sure-footedness for the future! And happy, healthy-cow Holidays to you and yours!

  31. marymac says:

    Wow, what a happy ending!!!

  32. GraceC says:

    I’m so glad it had a happy ending…my heart was with you as I was reading. As a new reader, I have so much to catch up on! I have to work tonight, and then I’m off for 2 days. I plan to spend a great deal of time over here!

  33. TheEnchantedBath says:

    I’m happy this story turned out well!

    I haven’t been to your FB page or your web site for a very long time as I’ve been super-busy making soap for Christmas orders. This was the first story I clicked on from your FB page and I was so afraid for your poor cow. I live here in West Virginia too, so I know all about that rainy spell you’re referring to. I’m sure it really was a muddy mess in your pastures.

    Glad all is now well in your corner of the world. 🙂

  34. TheEnchantedBath says:

    PS – I didn’t realize you had a soapmaking forum on this site. I haven’t checked it out yet but I will. I feel a little embarrassed that I brought soap out to your place when I was there for your open house. (I don’t see an ’embarrased’ smilie-face available in the icon choices below or I’d post one here)


  35. lavenderblue says:

    I was reading backwards, newer to older posts, so I already knew BP was okay and still my heart was thumping and I was holding my breath as I read this. Thank God for Morgan. And good country neighbors.

    And Blogger of the Millennium Award goes to … Suzanne! For having a cow stuck in a creek in the dark and still having the presence of mind to include pictures of it. ‘Cause you know we, your readers, want to be in on everything.

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