Thursday, April 7, 2011
City Girl Marries Country Boy
I was almost ready to leave for work at 7:00 this morning when Randy (who normally leaves earlier) came in to say cow #122 is trying to have a backward calf. Number 122 is a "pet". She's the first one there when we feed and she will eat right out of our hands. Well, those of you who know cows know that the nicest, pet cow can be quite mean when she is in pain with a backward calf! I changed clothes and called to report that I would be a little late to work. We took two pickups and tried to get #122 from the pasture to the corral. She was bound and determined to go back with the herd. The herd was bound and determined to run around and get in the way.
Plan B was to take those two pickups back to the house and get "Mouse" (most people out here name their vehicles) Mouse is a smelly (infested with mice before we purchased) old, STICK SHIFT pickup with a flatbed. So I am driving mouse over rough terrain while Randy stands on the back of the flatbed with a rope. I can drive a stick on flat road, but across the pasture, let's just say I need more practice. I did something wrong with the clutch and we took off in slow, long lurches. I believe I heard Randy say, "Oh, come on!" From what I know about roping, I'm thinking I need to stick close to this cow and go kind of fast, simulating what a cowboy would do if roping off a horse. Turns out when the cow stopped beside me, if I had stopped, Randy could have "just dropped the rope over her head". I failed to mention that also on the back of the flatbed is the big metal calf puller apparatus and about half a large square bale of hay (teetering and trying to fall off)and of course Randy hanging on for his life on the left side and trying to rope a cow, whose unborn calf's hind feet are hanging out, while I try to avoid deep ruts and wrong gears!
Plan C: Randy jumps off and the cow actually lets him walk her to the corral, me carefully flanking one side with Mouse. Two other cows just had to come along to see what the fuss was and one of them went in the pen with 122. They both try to leave and Randy is waving arms and yelling "Get the Gate" In my panic I think he means the makeshift panel that is set up to keep the 3 bulls in while we route cow into small pen. I start unwiring the panel and he yells "The gate by the barn!" I start unwiring the correct gate and 122 has had it! She knocks Randy on his back and both cows leave. Thankfully, for me Randy is so out of breath he can't yell at me. His voice was strange like he was sqeezing the words straight out of his lungs and I can't remember exactly what he said.
Plan D is head back out to the herd and for Randy to stand on the right side of the flatbed, and me pull up on the left side of the cow, so he can drop the rope. I'm not kidding you that cow got to going in circles and I was doing doughnuts with her. We must have spun around for 5 full minutes. At one point it felt like I was in a dream. It was surreal! The carnival rides have nothing on us! An old pickup just can't catch up with a cow turning tight circles! The cow was dizzy, I was dizzy, and I'm surprised Randy didn't lose his breakfast. Finally he got her roped and got the end of the rope threaded through a hole in the back of the flatbed. My job is to wrap the rope around my waist and hang on for dear life. Pulling up slack as he gets behind the cow and moves her toward me. The cow went the other way and pulled me up against the flatbed. I thought, "I may not make it to work today!" but I'm not letting go. 2nd try: she came toward me and we pulled up the slack. Now, ready to pull the calf that has been bounced all over the pasture for about 45 minutes. Shucks, we had lost the main part of the pullers some where in the chase. Randy tried unsuccessfully to pull the calf with just chains. No luck. I can't take Mouse and drive around looking for the puller, because there is an angry cow tied to it. I take off running and praying and searching. I look around the roughest terrain we covered; nothing. I decide to go back and tactfully ask about Plan E and I take one more scan of the area and there it is! I ran back to Randy, Mouse, and 122. Randy pulls a very big calf and it takes a breath. Amazing it's alive! Cow is laying down and starts to prolapse (insides are coming out). Randy yells take the rope off her neck and get her up. I get the rope off but she won't get up. Randy's is behind the cow trying to push inside back in. He tells me to kick her in the nose. I try, but I don't have a mean bone in my body. He tells me to yell in her ear. I lift her ear and yell in my loudest, deepest voice, "GET UP" Randy starts laughing. The cow does nothing. Randy starts laughing. "Not like that, the high-pitched yell, like when we call them in to feed" I try it and sure enough, she gets up so fast, gravity takes care of the prolapse, and she starts cleaning up her calf. Randy drops me off at the house and says, "Thanks" in a very unconvincing, frustrated voice. I told him I was sorry and that I would practice opening and shutting the correct gate till I get good and fast at it. I told him he never should have married a city girl.