A Roxy Rancher Adventure Story
I walked my munchkins to the bus, which is a necessity due to snowdrifts high enough to lose a child in, planning my alone day and all I would accomplish. Put the kids on the bus and drift busted to the only garage door that will open to get out something for supper. Was not easy. That was my first indication that this day may not go as planned. Trudged back through the drifts to the house, gazed out across the pasture and I see Zoey, one of our cows, stomping around. I tune in to her and yes she is hunting a spot to have a calf. I call out to her ummm…sweetie go back to the corral with the straw filled open faced shed. These snow piles are not cow having a calf friendly. She ignored me.
I go in, deposit my freezer gatherings in the sink and fridge freezer for future meals and have a yummy cup of coffee, knowing that in a short time I will have to put back on all my winter layers and go check cows. Had a vitamin drink too, I was sensing that this day was going to get busy. Checked out Facebook, procrastinated a little more and headed out. Now, for those of you who are not in our winter wonderland, there is so much snow that we have to plow trails with the tractor, and if driving on these trails you wander for a second you get sucked into a snowbank and are stuck until the tractor can get you out. it is kind of like a maze with deep piles of snow on each side waiting to catch you not paying attention. Fun game. NOT!
So, even walking can be a challenge. If you come upon a cow with a fresh calf who is not happy to see you, there is not a lot of places to run. I miss grass and open spaces. Normally, I can circle around and not have to be in the cows bubble to piss her off when she has a new baby. Not possible with all these drifts. Oh, and if you have read about my cowgirl adventures, I am kind of a chicken. I like escape routes. this snow is seriously hampering that.
So, I cautiously check cows. I would drive, but I am pretty sure I will get stuck and I am not willing to take the chance. I come around the corner of the corrals and look around. Zoey was back with the herd. Yeah!! still was not in the corral, but there was hope. Then I notice off in the trees there is a cow that is not happy. She is either having a calf and is having trouble or she already did and the calf did not make it. Then I see a fat coyote sitting in the snow, not far from her. That is not good. Oh, and the f@cking coyotes do not fall into the snow banks they run across the top easy breezy. Bastards. not me.
I start screaming, jumping, and cussing at the coyote to chase him off. It works. I watch the cow. It is not good.
There is about 30 cows and a 5 feet wide trail between me and the in the trees cow. Hmmm… how do I get there safely and check on her? Then I watch her take a run at the horses. Well that answers that. I don’t.
I trudge back to the house and call my husband. Get your@$$ home, we are calving!! Ok, I did not say that. I did say that a cow is having trouble and I need help. I also told him I have a plan and we need to trap all the cows in the corrals. Especially Zoey.
He came home. Luckily he was not too far away and his jobs today are in our area. So, I keep an eye on things waiting for him. I efficiently started the bale truck to warm it up so we would be all set to get a bale, put it in a bale feeder, have the cows go in, and trap them. Then repeat into the other corral. Easy. Bwahahahaha!
He and I jump into the bale truck and I suggest that first he should go check that cow in the bushes. He then drove right into a big snowdrift. F&^#$. A BIG snowdrift. It was windy last night and well the drifts grew. So, we got out, grabbed the calf sled (if I was smart I would have got in and had a ride, but I had no idea of the exercise that was to come) and trudged through the cow herd to check on the cow in the trees. I am way braver when Brent is with me. I figure he is bigger the cows will run into him first. Unfortunately that calf was not alive. Poor mama cow. Time to get all the rest into the corral, after we get unstuck of course.
He tried for a while, me being the smart sometimes wife kept my mouth shut for a while, then gently suggested he go get the tractor. He did. Took a while but we got the truck out. Now, remember the maze of one way trails? Well he had to back the tractor up, and I had to back up the bale truck until we came to a cross trail and I could get out of the way. Did that, then I drove into a snowbank. He did not even notice. He started plowing the trail with his tractor. I went to the house, canceled my helping with hot lunch plans, grabbed the camera, came back out and watched as he drove the tractor back to the hay pen. I am thinking he must be grabbing a bale, then coming to get me unstuck. NOPE! He did not even notice and put the tractor away. He was planning on feeding with the bale truck. Hahaha joke was on him, it was stuck. He got in and tried to get unstuck, until I not so gently suggested, you are wasting f@cking time, go get your tractor. I confess to having a bit of a potty mouth lately. This snow is getting to me. There were a lot of words spoken today loudly that I am sure my neighbors heard.
He got his tractor, pulled the truck out again, this time he put a bale on the tractor. Smart. He suggested I drive the bale truck over to the corral to get the gates. I said F#ck that I am walking. I did. We got the bale in, trapped some of the cow herd, off he went to get the second bale. Great!! Now, if things would have gone to plan this is the part where he drives the tractor into the other bigger corral and all the rest of the cow herd follows and I shut the gate. Yipee!!
Did not work that way. All the other cows were too full from the bale buffet the night before and could have cared less. Shit! So, he parks the tractor and yipee yahoo we get to chase the cows through the wonderful snow drifts in an attempt to get them to go into the corral. Did not work. They all ran through a gate that we probably should have shut. Ooops!! And took off up the hill. Again f*cking snow drifts. No way to circle around, have to go way around on the trail to cut them off. I think to myself: hmmm I should have the bale truck here. Perhaps I will go get it. I did. Except the tractor was parked in the trail in the way. Brent came and moved it. We are getting crankier and flipping tired by this time.
The cows take off running across the pasture. BUT… Here the wind has blown the drifts and I can drive like a wild woman in my trusty bale truck honking and swerving and cut those cows off. My favorite part. Well, unless I had a horse, but it is way too icy under the snow for me to be riding my horse doing this.
I did have to get out of my trusty bale truck steed to tromp through the snow and yell. I believe my words were ” I am done being nice you fat bitches, are your brains frozen? Quit being so stupid and get your fat asses into the corral.”
It sorta worked. I had to yell a lot. Brent yelled too, but his words were not so colorful. Finally Success!! They were trapped into the corral. But…..guess what? It is a really good thing that we did not shut that gate and they all took off on a gallivant up the snowy hill, because back up there hiding in the bushes were more cows, and one of them being a heifer who was trying to have her first calf and needed help. Brent went and got those 3 and we got them trapped also.
While I walked to the house for the calving supplies, he trapped the heifer in the head gate. He had to pull her calf. Poor mama. I had to walk away, I know how it feels having babies and I have too much empathy to handle it when they are having troubles. I got in my bale truck and checked the rest of the pasture. It was all over and a big boy calf was beside his mama when I got back. I will have a happy 7 year old who gets to name this baby.
We drove back to the house, me to clean the supplies, Brent to grab some sweet feed to put on the new calf so the mama would lick him. Sometimes first calf heifers are not sure what to do. She is doing great now. On his way back to the house driving the bale truck. Ummm….Brent got stuck. It is still in that drift right now.
Brent went to work. I went to town to the feed store for more calving supplies and the feed store guy happened to have chocolate almonds for sale too. Yummy.
I went out and checked and Zoey has a new calf also. Safely in the straw filled shed. I will have a happy 5 year old who gets to name this baby. Zoey is his cow. Whew!!! This has been a crazy day.
I did say to a friend yesterday that I was really wanted spring so I could get more exercise outside. Watch what you say, because today I had a 3.5 hour Cowgirl Aerobic workout. Which is why I got to eat the whole box of almonds.
Let’s hope calving gets easier, and spring with all its glorious sunshine arrives.