As I had thought, the herd had said their farewells to Cindy the night before and I wasn't surprised when I went in the barn and found her around the corner at the far end of the hall. I had worked out the logistics before going down: pull the body outside, bring John Dear, tie on and haul her out of the pen. All this needed to be done before letting the other girls out of their stalls. It's a plan that has worked in the past, but it's been a long time. Either this cold has sapped my strength or, more likely, I've just gotten old, but I could pull that dead weight only halfway to the door and no farther. Well, that put me in a pickle. I couldn't get Inga or Sheila out in the narrow hallway so we were all stuck. I'd thought I could handle this by myself: I was wrong. Just then I heard my neighbor fire up his forklift at the winery. I had no choice but to flag him down and ask for help. "Can it wait? I mean, she's not going anywhere, right?" No, Cindy wasn't going anywhere, but I explained I couldn't get the others out and I just needed five minutes and his muscles to get her out of the barn and I'd take it from there. His wife was not pleased, but he agreed and came over, got the deed done, and went back with my thanks.
As I had to leave the gate open to get John Dear down to the barn, Step B had to happen before letting the others out in the pen. I've not driven John since before burn season shut down in July and getting him up and running is a very complicated process. Quite proud of myself, I got him started and then he became John Not-So-Dear. Reverse is operated with a foot pedal instead of a lever, and John was not cooperating and refused to back up. Running late as I was, I became desperate and put in a call to Beau who, bless his heart, came to the crazy lady's rescue in a short time. Meanwhile, I had no choice but to go ahead to feed and milk my diminished herd. Cindy's body had the girls already spooked, and it only got worse when Beau's blue heeler (Australian cattle dog) followed him down the road. Pepper was desperate to get in the pen and do what heelers do best but she is young and Bess was able to distract her from herding and just play tag.
It took some finagling and some of Beau's brute strength (can't say I was a lot of help), but finally Cindy was put to rest down in the front woods. I really hate to ask, but am so grateful for helping hands.