Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thats wrong, damnit

I know, I know, I know, two missed posts in three days. Last night this old house which seems to be something to constantly test my sanity tested me yet again. I will not go into details but when you live in a house with three women and two of those women are teenagers, you are not allowed to say, “Sorry I can’t fix the plumbing issues tonight because I have to do my blog post”. I guess it would technically be allowed but the resulting castration would be a permanent burden that I am unwilling to bear.

Today was another great day and seven new arrivals hit the ground. I am not a perfectionist at really anything but one thing I do really work at having correct is my calf tagging and the information related to each calf recorded correctly. I am also a bit of a stickler about the numbers on the tags being a certain way and I really despise tags that are not perfect. So far this year I had been doing pretty well. Although too many calves have not received their tags I have made each one and have had few issues with bad numbers or legibility. The only issue I know of so far this year was that one tag was applied without a birth date written on the back but the birth date was recorded in my redbook. So up until today I have not had the need for any mental therapy related to tag issues. Yes, I did say up until today.

I adjusted my schedule a bit today because my uncle Fred and aunt Edie and their granddaughter Josephina (excuse the spelling if it is wrong) were bringing up some feeder hay. They thought it would be nice for Josie to see some baby calves. Josie is about 18 months old and as cute as can be. I find most children somewhat unattractive until about a year of age or so but Josie is one of the few I can honestly say has been a cutie pie since she arrived. So anyway, the first thing I did this morning was go check and feed the fall pairs and the special needs cows. There were two cows with two new calves lying very close together. One cow I had been fretting over because her teats are a bit large and I was glad to see which ever calf was hers had been able to suck two of the four teats down nicely. After that first time it usually is no longer an issue. I was not sure which calf belonged to which cow so I gave them a bit of hay and went on to the main group. I was sure before the day was over I would know which cow went to which calf.

As I was feeding the cows I noticed two other cows had calved as well but they did not have their calves with them. One of these cows is number 8044y. I would rather face a loaded .44 than tag 8044y’s calf within a mile of her. I know this through years of experience and finding out I can run like a gazelle, well a fat gazelle, if a 1200 pound cow is chasing you, especially if that cow is 8044y. When I finished feeding I went on foot with my tagging supplies hoping maybe I could find the calves in the forest of Black locust trees while their mothers were busy eating. I found them both but like the others they were lying about 10 feet apart and both were totally black with no indication of whom was the offspring of whom. I made the tags, applied them and hoped my 50-50 chance of them getting the correct tag was in my favor. I then left and went to meet the relatives.

We took Josie out to the babysitter cows and calves that are with the yearlings. There was one new calf there and Josie loved it and was even saying “baby” and pointing. When her grandpa picked up the calf and put it up to the window for her to see her love of babies totally wavered. Maybe she just wanted grandpa to put the baby calf down because when that happened she seemed to be all happy once again. We fed the yearlings and since we used Freds truck I had to borrow his knife and unless I left it on the dash of his truck after feeding I am not sure where it is. Thanks to all three of you for enjoying part of today with me.

After lunch I went back to the special needs cows and decided who the first two new calves belonged to and tagged them feeling pretty secure about my choice. I then went to Basin City to check the main group of cows. All was well there and the two new calves had cooperative mothers and were separated by quite a distance so I was quite confident in my tagging . I then headed back to the ranch and decided I would check the special needs cows one more time to see if my earlier tagging was correct.

Very quickly I saw that the second two calves I tagged were wrong. I growled a bit but made a scribbled notation in my redbook and really hoped I had been right with my other guess. The other two calves and 8044y were together in a cluster of Black Locust trees. Luckily she was standing over the calf I had tagged for her and I could see the other mother about 40 yards away. I decided to pick up the other calf and take it to its mom just so that nobody got confused. 8044y watched as I picked up the other calf and began walking away with it. I had traveled about 15 yards when the calf I was carrying let out a bawl. The next 35 minutes was spent dodging 8044y through the trees as Festus and I took turns hoping 8044y would chase the other. The other cow picked up the calf I thought belonged to 8044y in the meantime. Finally the calf let out another bawl and when 8044y turned towards it I made a beeline for the pickup hoping Festus would step on a tackweed so I could pass him. I am thinking maybe I should get an oxygen tank and mask installed for calving season.

The last thing I saw before leaving was each cow tending to and being suckled by their respective calves that had been tagged incorrectly. Four calves born at the special needs cows today and four calves tagged wrong. Some days there just is not enough beer, whiskey, Wellbutrin or Prozac.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the Black Locust tree aka Robinia pseudoacacia.

Today’s picture is cow number 3921g and her heifer calf number 0921g. One of the few calves that were tagged correctly today, at least I think so.