Sunday, February 7, 2010

Caution, mad mothers

Today’s post is probably going to be quite short and maybe even a bit boring. Sorry about that but the party last night was a really good one. I also attended a retirement party and Reception for W.T. (Bill) and Norma Bennett. Bill and Norma and their family are true icons in the cattle business not just here in the northwest but all over the globe. It was great to see so many people attend and it was nice to visit with fellow cattlemen and women from all over the northwest. Congratulations to Bill and Norma and may retirement bring you much joy and happiness.

Tomorrow is another cattlemen lobbyist day in Olympia our state capital. We will have a WCA Executive meeting as well as meet with legislators during the day. We will also host a reception for legislators in the evening before coming home. Tomorrows post may be non –existent or after the midnight date change depending on how schedules work. First I have to make about a 100 mile drive to Ellensburg to catch the bus to Olympia. Before I do that I need to do a calving check and feed the yearlings so tomorrow will be a 4 a.m. start day. Ah the joys of being in business for oneself. On the other hand who can resist a day spent with fellow cattlemen educating politicians? They certainly need the education and who better than cowboys and cowgirls to provide them with that opportunity.

I was able to get out of the Hotel this morning at a reasonable hour even though my wife tried to keep me there as her personal sex slave. Sometimes a man just has to put his foot down. Anyway it was a gorgeous sunny day and there were two new calves at the main cows and that went well but the calf tagging was again a bit of a struggle. I have to be a bit extra careful this year when tagging calves because of the coyotes around. Even the cows that normally are fairly accepting to me tagging their calves in past years are extra protective it seems. I know many will find it hard to believe but I am not near as fast and athletic as I was in college. In all honesty I am not as fast or as athletic as I was last month but that is relatively speaking.

I know some people will not put up with a wild or mean cows as a general rule. I have become much less accepting of this myself but at calving time I give them a bit of a break. A protective mother is a good thing from my perspective. I am sure this mothering and desire to fight for their calves well being is one reason the coyotes have yet to make any scores. I was able to get both calves tagged and also one calf born at the special needs cows. Those of you who have worked with newborns around mother cows know you have to be careful. Bruises, broken ribs and more than a few smashed in pickup doors have been the direct result of a cow protecting her calf. I will end today’s post with a calf tagging story my uncle told me about my father shortly after his passing.

My uncle was with my Dad feeding and tagging calves one day. My uncle watched as my dad would make the tags, drive up to the new calves, hop out and tag them. After watching my father perform this task 3 or four times he asked my uncle if he would like to try it. My uncle who had recently became my dad’s brother-in-law readily agreed. Dad made the tag, loaded it in the tagger and handed it to my uncle. They carefully drove up to a calf that dad had pointed out to my uncle. My uncle jumped out, caught the calf, and was just about to tag it when here comes the mother. She was on a full charge so my uncle smartly let of the calf and hurriedly ran back to the pickup and jumped in! My dad who was now chuckling a bit asked my uncle, “What happened, why did you run away?” My uncle replied, “are you kidding, did you see how that cow was going to attack me?!” My father then said in his slow talking dry witted way, “yep, she did the same thing to me yesterday.”

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the willow aka genus Salix and many species.

Today’s picture is calf number 0489w that was born today with her well milking mother.