Saturday, October 22, 2005

Down home on the farm

I don't have a lot of progress to tell you on the writing front, so here's a kitty to let you know I'm still thinking of you all. Ain't she cute? :)

One of Miranda's kittens Posted by Picasa

Yesterday we shipped our calves. Thursday Jim and a few other guys separated out the calves from their mamas, and kept the calves in the corral over night. Trust me, we did not get much sleep, due to all the bawling and bellowing. The bovines were *quite* unhappy. So we were up around five o'clock on Friday. One of the calves had lost her eartag, so job #1 was re-tagging her.

Okay. Picture this (cause I was too busy to actually take the photos, you'll have to use your own imagination): a wet, muck-filled corral with 17 calves, averaging 500-600 pounds each. Hubby, with a rope. He's going to slip the rope around the tag-less calf's neck, cinch her to the nearest post, and re-tag her through the old hole in her ear. He just wants me there *in case*. Have the setting in mind?

Characters go into action. The wonderful hubby slips said rope around calf's head. He wraps the rope quickly around the nearest post. Problem. There is about eight feet of tautly stretched rope. Oh, and 16 other calves, all quite excited about the action. Hubby hangs onto the rope, but he is too far away from the calf to encourage her forward. And she has all four hooves planted firmly in the muck, and has absolutely no intention of closing the gap.

Enter wife (that's me), stage south. I'm dressed right. Overalls. Rubber boots. My job is to encourage her to go with the rope. I'm like in the middle of the corral when the suction of the muck overcomes my ability to move. I have a choice. I can either: a) keep my right foot in its boot, and fall headlong in the muck (remember the 17 calves, kicking around), or b) remove foot from boot, abandoning said boot in middle of corral, but keeping my balance. Sort of.

More setting required, this time auditory. Seventeen calves, bawling and mooing at the top of their (expansive) lungs. Seventeen cows on the other side of the boards, increasing the racket tenfold. A bull, and a few other casual bovine onlookers, adding to the noise because everyone else is doing it and it sounds like fun. Hubby, yelling: "Move her foward! Get out of the way! What are you DOing? Are you okay?" Yes, all in one breath.

I wasn't much help. The calf stayed stretched out at the end of the rope, at least six feet from the fence. The other sixteen stampeded across my imbedded boot to the other end of the corral. Hubby followed his rope to the calf and popped the tag through with no additional excitement, then pulled out my boot and handed it to me, where I was perched on the railing.

I looked at the boot. I looked at my manure soaked sock. I looked at my boot. I pulled off my sock, stuck my foot in the boot, and climbed out of the corral, dropping my icky sock on the burning pile on the way by.

Oh, yes. We also had our share of fun actually loading the calves on the trailer, but I'll spare you the details.


EJ said...

LOL! I lost a boot in cow muck once at my grandparents' farm. Not pretty, especially since I was with my boyfriend at the time. Gotta love teenage mortification!

Maripat said...

What a cute kitten. And see I didn't make one rude remark about the boot stuck in the muck. Although I'm thinking of plenty.

EJ said...

I just re-read your title and had to giggle. The thought of 'down home' as far north as you are cracks me up! Maybe I just need another cup of coffee.

lindaruth said...

Ahh, the joys of farm life. I'm glad I'm a town kid. ;)
But you described the scene very well.

Valerie Comer said...

Glad to have made all of your day (grin). And EJ, just because I'm in Canada doesn't mean I'm at the north pole or anything, you know! In fact, as Canada goes, I'm pretty far south. *Down* south, you might say!