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Almost Christmas Blizzard

We woke up to sow this morning.

It came as a complete surprise. The forecast had said maybe, a small chance of snow. We’ve gotten so used to not getting anything that perhaps they said more and we didn’t hear it because our expectations were otherwise. Whatever the reason we had not expected snow.

A small blizzard was even more of a surprise.

Had we known it was coming we would have brought the cows into the corrals. Fed them where there was shelter and feed. Instead they were out in the corn field. A great place in the weather we had been having. Lots of corn stalks to graze on while they search out the ears left behind.

Not a drop of shelter though and  the wind is howling down with this snow. Driving it into drifts, coating everything in its path with a blanket of white.

Looking out into the powdery white my husband sighed deeply. This would mean lots of time digging out the feed bunks and the cattle would have to be found. Cattle drift with the storm, as any one who is a fan of old westerns can tell you. They don’t exaggerate the force of a herd with heads down walking blindly with the wind until stopped by fence line or, as in my favorite by Louis L’amour, a cliff. They could have drifted down to the corrals. That was the best case scenario. The storm isn’t all that bad. We could see the hay out inn the stack yard still. The wind was whistling through the trees letting us know how much worse it was blowing away from the shelter of the windbreak. They knew the way though.  It was a good possibility really.

Or they could be gone. Off across the neighbors fields. Mixing with their cows. Hopefully not making it as far as the highway. We have a neighbor who lives on the highway and they got a whole herd of cows and one horse in  their yard and barns during a blizzard. The horse determinedly herded the cows and held them in the barn until someone came to find them.

As my husband headed out to start digging out the cattle, I went the other way to check on my horses. They have a run in shed that they refuse to use except on sunny summer days and plenty of feed and shelter. I hate fr them to get cold or wet though. I wanted to see how they felt about it and offer the option of the shed to dry off in. Checking onn Ghost, Poppy, Baa, and Violet where they have their own little pen with sheds for all I closed gates and rearranged things so the horses could get to the barn.

Then I walked to the edge of their pen and called.

In the distance I could see where they were standing happily eating hay. They had heard me and responded with heads thrown in the air and ears prick towards me. They came, ready to go in the barn.

As they came through the falling snow to where I could see more than an outline of them, I was confused. Where were MY horses? These horses were a completely different color! We didn’t have any white horses!

Even as powdery as the snow was it had coated them head to toe. All fur was white, their manes all that retained any color. The beautifully colored snow horses pranced through knee deep drifts, nipping at each other and determind in their goal. Together we turned and walked into the barn.

Wading back to the house for a curry comb to scrape the snow from their hides I paused, wondering how the men were fairing. In the distance I spotted the dark outline of a payloader, then of two. They were digging snow, clearing a path to feed. Happy to know they were out there I carried on.

Horses scraped free of their snow blankets I followed my tracks back into the snow with a pitchfork to dig up some hay. Had I known it was going to snow I would have had this ready and waiting for them! It is more pleasant when all things are dry and not buried. With a handful of pitchfork my phone rang. Rushing to dump it through the open barn door I leaned against the barn to shelter my phone from the moisture and managed to answer before it stopped ringing. My husband was calling to check on us as he worked.

Yes, we were fine. Or I was. I couldn’t vouch for the children in the house. They had computers though, great baby sitters for times like these. How were the cows? They had drifted into the corrals! They were going to feed them in n the corrals. The corral I had turned the horses out into because we weren’t using it for cows! Uh oh. I needed to shut some gates!

Pitching a few more fork fulls to the horses I started my walk. Lots of corrals with lots of gates makes a nice little track for the horses to wander through. They also make a long walk through deep drifts to close. The first gate was buried in drifts. I pushed and pulled and could barely move it. Not such a bad thing. I could close other gates and this would give the cows a bit more room. But I had to try one more time first. Walking the drift down, kicking snow out of the way the best I could I go the gate farther shut. Repeating the process over and over I managed to get the gate closed.

Out of breath, lungs burning from panting inn the cold wet air I finished the loop closing the other gate then back into the wind towards the buildings. My torso was hot, sweating under coats, and gloves, and scarf. My legs were frozen solid with only the thin covering of my jeans. You would think the two would even each other out. Combine to leave you comfortably warm, instead of dying of heat and freezing to death at the same time.

A the buildings I paused. Halfway between house and barn I had to decide. Did the horses need more hay or did I need to sit down a moment, catch my breath and alternately warm up and cool down? They had been eating when I called them. They could survive for an hour or so on what I had given them already. I gave in to temptation and went inside. To write this. Now I should go check on them. Probably let them back out. A glimpse of blue is showing through the clouds now and then. The blizzard is gone. Hardly enough moisture in the dry powdery snow to make  it worth the trouble it made. At least it will settle the dust for awhile. And I will turn  the horses back out now that they’ve had time to dry.

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Moving Cows

I don’t even know where to start. This may turn into a bit of a novel. It was a grand adventure though and I want to share it. There are some typos and badly written areas. It’s a novel though and I have to go do more cow things. I don’t have time to proof read it all. Enjoy, hang in there.
Mostly though, everybody wants to be a cowboy until it’s time to do cowboy, um, ‘stuff’. 😉 Not how the quote goes but my mom would yell at me.
Our neighbor has a pasture leased for his small herd of cattle about two hours away. It’s way out in the middle of nowhere, not in the hills and trees but along them. It was time to bring them home for the winter and he needed help.
He is a great neighbor, always happy to come help at the drop of a hat, a good hand with cattle, and just an all around nice guy. I as happy to go help. My father in law, referred to from here on out as fil, was not so thrilled. All week he would groan and mumble anytime the subject came up. As in, “groan, argh, grr, I’m just not looking forward to this”. The neighbor is a great guy. The neighbors cows are crazy.
I think because the neighbor is so quiet and easy going, his cows get used to that. When anyone else comes around, even being quiet and easy, they bolt.
We drove the two hours up there, about half of that is highway. Then you twist and turn down gravel road. There is a quicker way but it is best described by C.W. McCall “there was a shortcut but unless we had drove the Black Bear Road before, we’d better be off to stay, stay in bed and sleep late” only instead of Black Bear Pass this is Pants Butte Rd. It twists down the side of a cliff and you can’t take a semi down it. Not safely. So we took the long way.
Once there we unloaded out trusty four wheeled mounts in the driveway of the place we would be driving them to to load. The guy was willing to let us use his corrals but wanted nothing to do with the cows. His daughter and some friends had gathered them last year. She wanted nothing to do with them ever again.
Not a good sign.
Down the road to the pasture we headed in. It’s a small pasture under two hundred acres so finding our way around shouldn’t be a problem. Entering in a creek bottom, low with lots of trees the road immediately climbed up to high flat ground and I started for the back side of the pasture.
Fil explored the creek bottom a bit and the neighbor, in his pickup and trailer went to opening the fence.
The cows saw me and took off for the far side of the pasture. I hurried and got around them. They started running the other way instead. The way we wanted them to go. I stopped to stare in awe at the barn on the neighboring property.
A few pictures taken I started to follow the cow heard, my hat blew off just then. I grabbed it and started to hang it on the handlebar, only to look over and see the cows running back at me with a fourwheeler sitting between them and the direction we wanted to go. I was so distracted I dropped my hat. I waved my arms, screamed and yelled a little until the fourwheeler moved.
Then I went back to find my hat.
It was no where to be found and I had work to do so I left it with a heartfelt promise to come back and look again.
The cows dove into the creek bottom and the trees. The other fourwheeler disappeared. Cows crossed the creek. I could not cross the creek. Not with my mount at least. The water was deep with a soft bottom and steep sides.
With Daisies help we kept them going the right direction. It was all going fairly smooth actually.
The other fourwheeler got back. We got almost to the gate. And it was shut. The plans were to take them out the corner instead. A handful of cows jumped through the fence anyway. The rest turned and ran back to the south, the exact wrong direction.
Normally cows without their herd would go back towards the herd. I shrugged my shoulders at the ones in the road and went after the herd. We got them stopped except for a couple that lost their minds and were determined to go south.
I went after them and tried to turn them. Instead the cow got on the fight and started taking me. I was playing a bit, letting her take me because what else could you do? Fil showed up from way off to the side. She turned and took him head on. Crashed into the fourwheeler and fell over. I laughed a bit. She was not being a nice cow. Then as she laid there kicking I got a bit nervous. Was she dying? Could she really have killed herself crashing into a fourwheeler?!
The answer to that would be yes. Apparently that is possible.
We gathered the calf and went back to the herd. Able to hold them there on the flat we got them pushed back towards the road again.
The cows crossed the creek. Of course. I found a tree trunk and walked the balance beam to the other side and was able to push them back.
The bull found a tree though and made his stand. He was not going any farther. I couldn’t get him to go. Fil couldn’t get him to go. The neighbor couldn’t get him to go. The herd was still trying to break back away from the road.
We left him.
Was it the right thing to do. Maybe not? Probably not? Apparently he isn’t branded. There is nothing to mark ownership. No one is obligated to bring him back even if they had any idea who a bull randomly showing up in their pasture belonged to. I didn’t know that. Cows were running everywhere. It’s hard to find the right thing to do with so much going on.
The rest of the cow herd went down the road to the corrals and we had them in by noon! Not a bad day at all. Except for the bull. And what ever did happen with those cows that jumped out inn the first place?
I left fil and the neighbor to load the cattle in the semi and went back to see if I could get the bull. I should have stayed.
I searched again for my hat first, with no luck I went to find the bull. He was laying in the middle of the pasture chewing his cud. I was not willing to get to close. A bull who has gotten grouchy and made his stand is more dangerous than I am willing to mess with.
Moving him was an interesting practice in negative reinforcement. Annoy him enough that he wants to leave then remove the pressure. With lots of bugging we got almost to the road. Very slowly. On the other side of the creek, that mean more tree walking and chasing the bull on foot. The gate was closed of course. I had driven over the fence the cows knocked down to get in. I didn’t know how we’d get out if we got there. He’s a bull, they walk through fences all the time. I figured we’d manage something.
Then the guys showed up. That meant the gate was opened! But the noise from that side was more annoying than me.
He ran right past no matter how much screaming and arm waving I did.
The neighbor said there was a gate into the neighbors. The ones with the gorgeous barn. They had said he couldn’t use his corrals to load out of. That didn’t mean we wouldn’t make use of them in an emergency to hold the bull.
Still walking on the far side of the creek we worked the bull up to the gates. Developing a nice system I walked on the top, out of the creek bottom so if he came after me he’d have to make it up the steep bank first, and threw sticks in his general direction when he stopped. He walked very nicely to the other side of the pasture.
We got to the gate. He stopped and stood in the opening. Then ran past it. We got him turned and brought him back down the fence line. In the gate again he stopped. Looked around and ran by.
The neighbor had driven up to the buildings and walked with me trying to get him in the gate. He said there was nowhere to load out of there anyway. 🤦🏻‍♀️
Back towards the road again. The pasture is long and skinny. It’s not a half mile square. More like a mile by what ever the width would be to give you a quarter section.
It was a long walk.
The bull was still moving nicely and we managed to get him onto the road! Yay!!
We got a half mile down the road and the bull changed his mind. He turned and went back to his pasture. Fourwheelers didn’t bother him at all. He just walked right through them. I wasn’t willing to let him walk over me. He walked through the fence and I called it good. I was done for the day.
The neighbor was still up the road where the bull had decided he was done. A pickup had pulled out of a driveway and they were talking.
The guy yin the pickup had three cows and a calf in his hay field, he gestured off that way. Sure enough, we could see little black dots.
So that’s where the first fence jumpers went!
If we wanted we could drive them up to his house, there was a gate open into a trap. We could use his corrals to load.
Or we could run them back to the pasture and try to get them together with the bull?
I pulled for that.
We went too push them on up to his corrals. He went off to town for parts.
We drove the half mile to the cows. They took off at an easy lope down the driveway. The houses were a tiny dot in the distance. The cows loped on. The buildings barely drew nearer.
He said we could run them up to his house. He didn’t say the house was three miles down a ridiculously long driveway.
Almost there one of the cows got tired of the long lope and stopped. When we caught up she turned and took us. We were able to convince her to keep going, at a trot now. As she caught up with the other three, stopped by the fence around the yard. One fourwheeler pushed a bit close and they all piled through another fence.
Driving over the remains of yet another fence I took off across the hay field as fast as my poor tired mount could carry me. We all hit the creek at the same time. I pulled up. They dove through.
And there we were again.
There were no tree trunks to climb across. I convinced Daisy, ridding with me all day, to cross the creek and try to push them back. They sulled up in a corner and refused to move.
I found one small tree and was able to climb carefully across. Daisy barked. I threw branches at them. They stood at the creek bank refusing to move.
Until they did.
They turned and came straight at me. I dove for my trust tree. They ran past.
There were no crossings in that field. I went back to the buildings. The neighbor was there with his pickup. He knew a way through the buildings and over the creek.
I followed him through the most beautiful ranch head quarters I have ever seen. The Coffee Ranch was settled way back when, not too long after the civil war, consisting at one time of as many as three hundred thousand acres. It is down to about forty two thousand now. The history is incredible. The buildings old and gorgeous, new and ostentatious. I wanted to take pictures and look around. Not only would that be rude but we had cows to get. I buzzed through and found my way to the other side.
Here’s a link to a story about the Coffee Ranch https://www.1011now.com/…/ranching-in-sioux-county-the…/
With me able to get to them again the cows dove through the creek and fil followed pushing them back towards the latest fence they demolished.
We finally got them in the corrals.
The guy in the pickup showed up having made his trip to town. I bet he was surprised to find us not all that far from where he left us.
We opened and closed gates and got the cows almost to where they needed to be. I paused a moment opening gates and turned to talk to guy in pickup.
Out of the corner of my eye I caught a glimpse of something and turned in time to see the orange tagged cow charging my fourwheeler from clear across the corral!
I was sitting perfectly still, not bothering her. Not sure what made her snap just then. I dove off the far side of the fourwheeler. Aimed for the gate. Missed. She stopped and turned running back to the others.
The Guy in the pickup gave me a lecture about how cows wont go over a fourwheeler. Having seen them do pretty much that I had to disagree, even though he informed me that he knew this because he ran a twelve hundred head place.
We opened the gate and the cows ran through full speed. Only then mostly because we hadn’t expected them to go so fast or easy, did we look on down the loading chute to realize the trailer wasn’t backed up to it yet! The neighbor and fil were standing there messing with the trailer door. Yelling a warning to them they waved arms and jumped out of the way.
Fortunately the cows were just out in another big corral and not loose. We ran them back in and they loaded easily. We were done.
Back to the first set of cows waiting patiently in the semi and home. It was almost dark. We had left home at eight that morning.
Driving down the gravel road towards home I could barely see the road in the cloud of dust in front of me bringing up the tail. I kept thinking I could smell burning rubber. We were going along railroad tracks. It could be from that. I kept getting occasional wifts though. Enough that I stopped, got out, and checked my tires. No heat there. I kept going. As we neared the highway I tried to call fil see if he wanted to stop and check everything before we got going. His phone rang and rang but no one answered.
I’m always paranoid, so I chalked it up to that and ignored the occasional smell.
My husband called to get the update now that we had service again and I told him about the burning rubber smell. He wasn’t overly worried. Yes, I was talking on the phone and driving. It’s not like we have traffic to worry a bout out here. I lost service again.
The pickup I was in started making a weird noise. I called him back. As we talked a saw sparks start to fly off the tire of the semi in front of me.
Now we knew the cause of the burnt rubber smell. I told him I couldn’t reach his dad. He hung up and tried to reach him again. A car passed me and got between me and the semi. I couldn’t flag him down. My husband called the neighbor leading this procession of errors and tragedy. He pulled over as we made our last turn and we managed to get fil stopped.
The hub on the wheel was glowing red hot. We were ten miles from home with a load of crazy cattle on in the dark.
He said to ‘heck’ with it and drove on.
Not sure what the other options were. I followed him again with the neighbor bringing up the rear because I discovered when we stopped that I didn’t have any trailer lights. As we drove I watched sparks fly and prayed for everything I was worth for a safe trip home without the trailer catching fire. Then as we turned back onto gravel for the last bit home I also prayed not to start any other fires with sparks and chunks of glowing hot metal flying off.
We made it. My husband as well as making phone calls got the corrals arranged and lights turned on.
Backing up to the chute we happily and quickly dumped the cows off. The wheel glowed.
They went off to hose it down while we unloaded the three cows and calf off the pickup and trailer. All the cows were safely confined in corrals with guardrail fences. They weren’t going anywhere and we could haul them to the neighbors, with the pickups, no semi, in the morning.
This morning we were ready to go start loading cattle when we got the phone call. Apparently there was something else that could go wrong.
The neighbor got a call from the guy whose corrals we used. There were still three calves in his corrals…
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Ghost

We brought the cows home last weekend. We had warm weather  and everything went good.

Now that Ghost is home where I can get to her and we have a fence I can bring her through so we can work ALONE. I am making the best of it and trying to get to her every day.

We are going back over the things she learned before we quit being able to work because of too much help. We are reinforcing treat manners, greatly strained by all the extra help. We are learning how to do new things like work on a lead rope and give to pressure.

She is exuberant in her responses and perhaps a bit over eager to work. I’m hoping that settle down as she gets used to working together again.

I’m learning a lot too. Like that cows are more sensitive to a curry comb than I would have guessed. Or maybe it’s nerves because she isn’t used to being brushed.

Cattle are different than horses. Together hopefully we can learn to navigate the learning in a way that works for both of us.

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Hauling Hay

As my husband walked out the door to go spend the day planting wheat he just happened to mention in passing that if we wanted to we could come by later and check the cows over that way. We could even bring lunch! If we wanted to. Hint, hint 😉

I had planned to go check on Ghost and Blossom and Joker, plus all the others since I was there anyway, at some point this week. Might as well take him lunch while we were at it.

Shortly before lunch time he called again. Was there any chance we could bring the semi with the hay trailer when we came? Since we were coming anyway. There was a pickup there that we could use to go check the cows. Sure, what the heck. We were going anyway. Might as well get a load of hay out of the way.

We got to the hot dust field and enjoyed out picnic of sandwiches and melons fresh from the garden on the side of the seed truck.  The children wallowing in the dust as they enjoyed what little shade it offered. Then we got to loading the bales. It’s so dry this year. They had cut a field of alfalfa despite it  not being worth the effort. There were a few bales from there and some straw bales from the year before. As m father in law loaded it he was complaining about the bad shape the bales were in. Straw is slippery and doesn’t like too be confined to net wrap. I needed to keep an eye out for any bales falling off, he warned.

Leaving the field I sideswiped a corner post knocking the bales askew but luckily sparing the post. They didn’t fall off though and everything was set right with a bit of rearranging. Hopefully the trip home went better.

After loading we left the semi set and went to look at cows. My son was excited to show his sister how he could work the float to fill our water jug from the stock tank. The jug was empty so we were all looking forward to that. After a cold refreshing drink we walked down the draw.

The storm that destroyed Iowa in July came through here first. We didn’t get hit near as bad but the seventy mile per hour winds knocked down many of the huge old cottonwood trees. Now they lay in the dry creek bed, perfect for climbing. The children who love to climb their tree at home scampered over the arching tree trunks making me gasp and shut my eyes sometimes. They were not afraid though and nobody did fall to their deaths, or broken arms even.

Wore out from climbing we hiked back to the pickup, cast our eyes over the cow herd on the way. All the ones we usually notice stood out, Poppy, Ghost, Joker. The herd markers were there. In with a few more cow calf pairs counting the heifers isn’t as easy anymore. As long as the colorful ones were there we could assume everyone else was too.

Back at the field we waved goodbye to my husband leaving him any left overs from lunch to get him through until whenever he finished planting that night and headed home.

On the narrow dirt road we came upon a tractor speeding along, just barely slower than us. I hated to try to pass him. With the hay on the trailer takes up almost the whole road and I wasn’t going very fast. He pulled off to the side though and slowed. I had no choice. We hugged the grassy shoulder as tight as we could and I didn’t think we clipped him. We did leave him with lots of dust as we continued down the road.

Nearly home, far past the last intersection, I slowed even more to watch for the cows that have been coming and going freely from their poorly fenced pasture onto the road. When, inn the road ahead, there was something. Not a cow. Bigger even.

A round bale!

I had been warned to be careful of loosing my load and here instead was someone else’s bale. Lost dead center in the middle of the road!

In a car or pickup we could have easily squeezed around the edge. There were a couple of feet of road and a decent shoulder on one side. In a pickup and trailer I could have backed to the intersection only a quarter mile or so behind me. In a semi with a hay trailer I thought hard about the fence post I nearly took out earlier. Would the bale already there knock my bales off as I brushed past it? Would the trailer slip off the side of the road into the ditch if I got too far off the road?

If I tried to back with no way of seeing past the trailer how badly stuck could I get it in a ditch with a small misjudgement? Was there any possibility of the children being of assistance and not getting run over if I asked them to go back and guide me?

None of the options looked good. So laughing about the ridiculousness of the situation we found ourselves inn I called my husband. That’s what I do when life has handed me impossible options, call my husband and he will fix it. Somehow. He always does.

As I explained our predicament he laughed with me. He would get a hold of the neighbor. The one whose cows were walking through his mostly down fence to graze the road. whose hay field the bale was in front of. We could sit there parked in the middle of the road and wait.

But. No! As I looked back at the semi and trailer blocking what part of the road the bale didn’t, here came the tractor we had reluctantly passed! He had caught up with us. Now he was passing us, squeezing carefully between the bales and the ditch. He fit! Driving past me standing in the road, talking on the phone, past the children hanging out the windows watching the show. With never a wave or a smile he drove up to the bale. Was it his? Was this where he was driving to?
Wrong color tractor for the neighbor of the cows my husband assured me. This one was blue. Whether it was his or not he picked up the bale. I got in the semi, released the brake, and we followed him. He went slow, looking at the cow whose calf, still in the pasture she wasn’t in, got lined up to nurse through the fence. He looked around then found a driveway to the hay field. He slowly pulled inn and we passed him once again, grateful that he was there to clear our path.

Finally, home at last.

Positive Punishment? Negative Reinforcement? A Little Of Everything?

Sometimes the lines between the quadrants aren’t as clear as we would like.

My daughter hadn’t been sleeping. I need sleep, I found this to be very strong Positive Punishment. Walking through the days in a tired foggy haze made me grouchy and miserable to live with. That was not strong enough positive punishment to keep her from coming into our room every night just wanting someone to come back  to her room with her to stand there until she fell asleep, over and over again.

We tried all sorts of different techniques to get her to stop. After the first few times which were nightmare induced, it wasn’t because of fear so much as habit. She would be up and headed to our room before she was even fully awake. We tried patience, I admit I yelled a few times, my husband made her a noise machine that played audio books for her all night long. Please just lay there and listen to your book instead of coming to get us every time you wake up, we begged her.

None of it worked.

We were exhausted and our tempers were getting short.

This is where the lines start to blur.

I have been making the children come with me to feed in the mornings since they have been out of school. It’s good for them and they enjoy it once they get out there, even if they beg not to have to go every single day. It’s a fight to get them out the door.

It’s good for them, everyone needs to learn about work and responsibility. To them it is positive punishment though.

I told her that if she could make it through the night without waking us up she wouldn’t have to come with to feed.

It worked. She said the next day that she had been out of bed and almost to our door before she remembered feeding.

So she went back to bed.

What  category does this fall under?

Not positive reinforcement. Positive reinforcement would be offering her a reward for doing the thing we wanted. We are, but only in the form of relief from  punishment. The one receiving the punishment, or reward, is the one who gets to decide what is punishment or reward, not the one giving it.

Had she not slept I would have been applying positive punishment by making her continue to go feed with me.

Positive punishment isn’t always a bad thing. We think of it as punishing, cruel and hurtful. By the scientific definition it is anything that stops a behavior. In real life the punishment I offered is something that is far better for her than not to be punished. So often we, our horses, everything, look at things that are good for them as a bad  thing. Sometimes it’s uncomfortable, sometimes it’s hard to do. That doesn’t mean it’s not the best thing to do.

We would  like the lines between the quadrants to be well defined and clear. Punishment bad. Reward good.  Really though life is a constant weighing and re-balancing of the scales.

She is still sleeping through the night. She is still not going with to feed. Responsibility and the importance of work in life will have to be taught at some point, right now getting to sleep through the night weighs far more heavily on my scale.

The Way That Calves Get Born

We were checking cows and we came across a cow that had a water bag out. Then we went and looked around. Then we came back, we saw the outline of a calf head and front legs. They were in the water bag.

We went and played around a bit more. Then we came back and it still wasn’t out!

We went and played around a bit more. When we came back it was hanging out.

We drove over and looked up close. The calf was stuck. Then mama went and tried to pull it out. Then it came out.

The end.

Hung At The Hips

Science class today.
Proper calf presentation at birth. How lungs are cleared out when they hang like this. And most importantly…
Will he ever actually come out?

 

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Facts About Cows

There was a dead calf so we decided to cut it open so that is why we are doing facts about cows.  We took the dead calf to the pasture and then we started cutting it open, but the knife wasn’t really sharp enough.  But we got it cut open.  We saw and talked about the intestines, then mama tore them out.  Then we talked about the liver.  The liver filters the blood and makes it clean for the rest of the body.  We wanted to see the heart, but we couldn’t get to it because the skin was too difficult to cut with the knife we had.  Since we couldn’t see the heart we cut the neck and found the esophagus and saw the rings of muscle in it.

We cut open the stomach. Last night mama and Lala fed the calf some colostrum. All the colostrum spilled out.

I felt disgusted, and like I would throw up. Mama was fascinated.

It was cold but mama said it was beautiful out. 8 thought it was all too gross and rode home with Lala

I want to learn more about the insides of calves and cows.

By The Goblin Child

 

My Side Of The Story

We were looking through the calves. My daughter was on the fourwheeler behind me. My father in law was putting out bales of hay for the calves.

As we drove across the pen I said look a chipmunk! It was hopping across the pen, big and grey with it’s long scaly tail stuck straight in the air.

That wasn’t a chipmunk! It was a rat!

Daisy was on the fourwheeler behind us. She’s a good rat dog. I started calling to her, trying  to get her to notice the rodent.

It was getting away though. I floored the fourwheeler and we aimed at the rat. It disapeared beneath us.

Slamming on the breaks I turned to look behind.  It was still running. Leaping off the fourwheeler I ran for it still calling Daisy.  She wasn’t caught up yet, I was there, I did it. My dad always told a story about him stomping a rat that ran under him while he stood talking along Lower Wacker in  downtown  Chicago. I had to  do it, the rat was under my feet already. I forced myself to stomp. The rat squirmed, wrapping  up around my boot. I could feel it. Screaming in  fear and horror at what I was doing I kept stomping, to keep it from  crawling up my leg as much as anything.

Daisy finally got there. I stepped back  and let her finish up.

The Goblin Child was cackling historically on the fourwheeler then hopped off to come see it for herself. Upon inspecting the now very dead rat she shrugged and we walked back  to the fourwheeler and home.

Daisy was  left with her prize. She carried it off the other direction.

Spring Snow

Pausing on the wind swept crest of the hill I turned and peered back the way I had come. From this high vantage point it was possible to see the whole pasture without having to drive it. Today I was happy to be on my gas powered mount instead of a horse. We could go as fast as possible, as fast as I could stand.

The snow was light but wind driven. What a day to skip my cap. Without the protective brim each snowflake stung as it burrowed into my eyes. I drove with head down, stocking cap pulled low, trying to protect my eyes.

It made it hard to look around, the sole purpose of this trip. So I sneak quick glances up around.

The cows aren’t officially calving yet. Not due for a few more days. There always has to be a few early ones though.With the cold weather coming in I want to be sure we don’t miss an early arrival.

No cows are off alone in a far corner. Nothing to worry about yet. I hurry home, with the wind now. The snow hitting my eyes still burns but is easier to avoid. My hands ache with cold. The warm weather for the last few days has made me forget that winter is not over. I should have worn warmer gloves.

Back at the buildings I stop to visit the horses. It is still snowing but above the sky is turning blue. Blue above, grey and snowing below. A horse snorts in my ear, shedding hair sticks to everything. Spring is coming. Eventually.

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