Traffic Jams, Country Style

One of the very few things I do not miss about living in Toronto is the traffic. I didn’t bother owning a car for almost three years, because it was just easier – and faster – to use public transit than it was to fight with cross town traffic.

I was pretty sure that moving 2 hours north of Toronto had eliminated that problem, until Friday afternoon. Driving up the side road that takes me into Mount Forest, I encountered a sight I didn’t expect to see outside of Texas – a herd of cattle, being driven up the middle of the road by four riders on horseback.

There were about 30 head of cattle, none of whom seemed thrilled to be heading up the middle of the road, and all of whom were ready to break for it any moment. Their first bolt took them over a snowbank and onto a small century log house’s property. Since these cattle apparently weren’t the four wheel drive variety, two of them managed to get stuck in a five foot high snowbank, and dislodging them took a good twenty minutes of pushing and pulling. In the meantime, the remaining cattle and the one rider watching them milled about at the intersection of two roads, until the cattle finally said ‘bugger this’, and headed off into the backyard of the ranch style bungalow sitting on the corner. They ran close enough past the house that I could only picture the homeowners looking out the window to come face to face several hundred tons of cattle trampling their vegetable garden.

When they were finally herded back onto the road, they decided to break for the other side of the road, at which point the driver of the mini van that was sitting across the intersection from me got out and hat waved them back where they belonged. Soon after, the off road cattle were chivvied back in with their herd mates, and the whole group headed west from the intersection, allowing the back log of fifteen or so cars to get back on the road.

It certainly was more picturesque than the average city traffic jam is… and had me wondering why they hell I don’t keep at least a disposable camera in the car.

I suspect the cattle and riders were possibly heading for Bar K, which is a ranch in nearby Holstein. Bar K is a working farm, and home to the annual Holstein Rodeo, held every July.

If Rodeo isn’t your thing, you can head over to Harriston for the Canadian Redneck Games, which includes not one, not two, but three mud pit related activities (Slip n’ Slide, Tug O War, and Belly Flop contests), as well as the ever popular ‘Bobbin’ For Pigs Feet’ and Hubcab Hurl. There’s also community BBQ, which we’re told is ‘roadkill free’.

It’s sometimes hard to believe that all of this is two short hours from one of the largest cities in North America. Country living is a lot of things, but it’s not boring.

By the way, writing this post has given me a fever – a fever for cowbell.