Thursday, October 28, 2010

Does Ethel need a helmet too?

Between traveling to Toppenish twice this week to bring home cow calf pairs, going to Dakotas’s final volleyball game and participating as an interviewer for a cooperative extension job today I have logged quite a few miles. I usually enjoy driving because it gives me time to think, it is a pretty easy task and you get to see what is going on in someplace other than your own little world. The downside is that it gives me time to think, it is pretty easy and I get to see things going on in someplace other than my home little sheltered world.

Tuesday morning I was going to make a quick trip to Toppenish, pickup the remaining pairs and be home with a huge part of the day left to get things accomplished. Early that morning I could already see that I had some type of issue. There was one calf that was walking around the corral bawling like crazy and one cow with a swollen bag that was looking for a calf among the cattle I had brought home Monday. I did not panic and thought that obviously I had left one mother and one calf in Toppenish the day previous that would match these two sad individuals. I almost just trusted that to be the case but then had second thoughts. What if there was a larger issue and I possibly had an unmatched pair because of a sale yard mistake? I knew I had room for one extra cow and calf so I reloaded the cow and calf to take back. I figured that I would unload them, some left behind cow as well as some left behind calf would rapidly “pair up” and I would be on my way back home.

As I traveled that day I saw two things in particular that caused me some deeper introspection. In the space of just a few miles I had both a Dodge Neon and Chevy Malibu pass me. Both of these 4 door vehicles had spoilers on their rear trunk lid. In high school and college I was able to survive several drag races and several long trips way over the speed limit in a Camaro without a spoiler and twice the horsepower of these grocery getter cars that had just passed me.

So for what possible reason could these cars need a rear spoiler? Was there danger that grandma Ethel’s Tom-Tom GPS unit would fail her and put her in danger? “Turn right onto Super Speedway” says the GPS unit. Could it be possible that Ethel may have to challenge Kevin Harvick and the 23degree banking of the Daytona track and need the assurance that she would not break the ass end of her car loose and hit the wall in turn 3? Can you just imagine “Depends” undergarments as a major NASCAR sponsor? The thought made me smile but not near as much as thinking of Ethel getting into the rear quarter panel of Kyle Busch and spinning him into Jeff Gordon as she broke away clean to take the checkered flag. Later she was docked 200 points by Nascar because her spoiler was .00000012 millimeters too high at the post race inspection. (I know you non Nascar fans are bored but anyway) At this point I shake my head and realize I am going 87 miles per hour with a pickup and stock trailer because of the way my mind leads me astray.

I just kind of get myself back in focus when I see a billboard along the highway. Now you tell me what runs through your mind when you see a highway billboard with the words “Long on taste, 12 inches to be exact”? I quickly knew it was an ad for Sonic drive in and their Foot long Coney dog as the picture of a big chili and cheese covered wiener came into view. What did you think it was? If you doubt such a billboard exists I challenge you to look on the side of highway 395 southbound near Eltopia Washington. I got to Toppenish and the unpaired calf I returned quickly found a mother and the returned cow rapidly had a calf suckling her as well. I had just sighed in relief when I was presented with a new issue. I had 8 cows and 9 calves to load.

I wanted to get going, the sale yard personnel wanted me to get going and since we knew we had everything else paired up we loaded all 9 calves deciding it would just be Christmas if none of the cows had a set of twins. On the way home I passed a pickup and travel trailer that both looked to have been built in the early 60’s slowly traveling down the road. My initial thought was to feel sorry for the older gentleman driving the pickup and how difficult his life must be. Upon further thought I decided that the man had two very distinct advantages over the general public. Just think of the freedom that he must feel to know he can freely move to wherever he feels he wants to be at any given time. On top of that I pondered how lucky would it be that the spare tire to your pickup could also serve as a spare tire to your home because the bolt pattern and wheel size was the same.

Once everyone was back to the ranch I found out I did have a set of twins and chuckled at the good fortune of one extra calf. This particular cow has plenty of milk and seems to be letting both kids suck so for the time being she will raise them.

Today’s real environmentalist species found on the ranch is the mule deer aka Odocoileus hemionus.

Today’s picture is cow 3913g with her spring steer calf 0913g. This is what you want to see as you approach weaning, a big calf with a cow that is rebred to calve again next spring.