Trina Machacek: A cow serenade

In Nevada we have open range for livestock. Meaning that during different times of the year our hills, valleys and mountains are home to cows and sheep that happily munch away at grasses and drink from streams. Calling those places literally Home On The Range.

I am all for open range. There are rules that ranchers follow which outdoors men, women and children are also asked to follow. Like taking to heart signs posted that read, PLEASE CLOSE THE GATE!

Now let me just say that yes I know some of those gates are a real bugger to open let alone close. But! Yes an open gate “but.” But an open gate is an opportunity a cow just cannot resist. I have a story to go along with those words of wisdom. But of course I do!

Where I live I can see for 70-plus miles in 360 degree gorgeous vista vision. On the north side of me is BLM ground, a.k.a. open range. Sagebrush and undisturbed dirt. Except I know there is a little place north of me where there is a coyote den.

In the spring and fall Nevada open range is home to cows that come and go eating and mooing and living cow life. It just so happens that the gate to get into my yard is on the north side of my property. I do not like a closed gate. Believe me. I close a gate I go through if posted, it’s the thing to do. But I don’t close my gate very often. I have this aversion to being closed off. I really, really don’t like a locked gate keeping me off of Nevada land that is supposed to be used and enjoyed by Nevadans and outdoor enthusiasts. But I digress to such another story… Getting back to me. HAHA

My gate is open most of the year. People come and go with ease and occasionally herders run sheep down the road stopping to close my gate to keep their sheep going in a straight line to their next pasture. Then they reopen the gate and all is right in my world. It works well. Until it doesn’t.

The other night at about 9:30 p.m. I was getting ready for bed. Yes 9:30! My late nights are a thing of the past. I sleep with my bedroom window open so the freshness of Nevada can seep in and offer happy dreams. I am putting on my jammies when all of a sudden I hear this loud clear deep MMMOOOOOO! And a cow coughed. I knew immediately there were cows on my lawn and in the yard. AARRGGHH! I gave a hopeful prayer that maybe it was a cow out on the road. But I knew. I knew that serenade MOOOOO was too close to home and not on the road. I couldn’t be that lucky.

Living alone there was no one to tap gingerly on the shoulder and say, “Honey, cows are in the yard.” Nope. Like so many times since my other half zipped to Heaven I found myself sticking my thumb in the air saying, “Yep. The cheese stands alone!”

So I throw on my sweats, a hoodie over my jammies, slip into slippers and grab two flashlights. Two? Oh I have been through this before. If I only take one it will die as I am herding cows in the darkness. So with two flashlights and my knowledge of just what needed to be done I opened the front door. I expected to see a few cows.

But to my surprise there were 17. Yes 34 eyes looked back at me. And of course they were all black as — well black as night. Munching as fast as they could yanking up tuffs of my lawn. Oh and one was even sucking on the sprinkler that was going. She was very thirsty indeed. Seeing all those eyes was like looking down into a well with a flashlight and having shiny rocks glimmer back at me. Thankfully no bulls were visiting. Just mommas and babies looking for a late night snack.

So as I have done in the past, I’m out there with flashlight(s) wiggling and calmly ssiiitt ssssiiittt sssssiiiitttt-ing at these cows quietly herding them. Did they stay in front of the house — oh no. They decided to take a tour around the house across the back lawn, around the garage, down through the junk piles and finally out the gate. Which I promptly closed as they were mooing softly in the night.

Just another magical evening of being serenaded in Diamond Valley. I do so love it here.

Trina lives in Eureka, Nevada. Her book, They Call Me Weener is available on or get a signed copy by emailing her at


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