Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Best laid plans

Today, like many days, started out with a plan. I currently have calving cows in 2 places. The home place and the Corrales circle. The plan started out with checking the cows on the home place. I fired up my Japanese Quarter horse aka a red Honda fourwheeler (Ruby Sue) and started out across the pasture. This went fairly well as all the calves that were born here yesterday were near their mothers and nobody had dropped a new calf overnight. I also noted that nobody looked like she was going to calve in the next few hours. I headed back home to meander off to my next task. 

I started Griselda which was connected to my stock trailer which contained another Japanese Quarter horse aka  a yellow Honda fourwheeler aka (Tommy) from the Kenny Rogers song "Coward of the County". 

Griselda roared to life as her Cummins innards were programmed to do. The next stop was the other ranch house to take the garbage can to the road, then off to the Corrales circle cows and then to Eltopia to gather up electric fence and fence posts. While taking the garbage can to the road at the other ranch house I heard a snap and as I climbed back inside Griselda I knew what had happened. The "Serpentine" belt which on most of today's vehicles runs every secondary operation of a vehicle had snapped. Now luckily I was not 100's of miles from home, the snow was not falling and just last week I had actually purchased a new belt based on mileage and wear. I limped Griselda 1/2 mile home with no power steering and decided today's plans were flexible. 

Now, a serpentine belt is an amazing thing. On a 2005 Dodge 5.9 Cummins it runs your alternator, fan, water pump, power steering and air conditioning. Without a serpentine belt it runs you to a psychiatrist as you are truly screwed without it. Replacing a serpentine belt on this particular model of pickup would take 20 minutes with two people. Replacing a serpetine belt alone is a bit different. The first 20 minutes are spent spewing cuss words and wishing you could go back to the old days in which there was a separate belt for each function. In retrospect like many things in the end it is better as you do not have to thread the serpentine belt around the fan which is a knuckle scraping mother! 2 1/2 hours later Griselda was back to normal and I was almost giddy thinking that now I did not have any time left in my day for paper work as previously planned. We headed down the road to the Corrales circle to check cows.

I arrived at the Corrales circle, I unloaded Tommy and headed out for my check. 1002 a daughter of 2002 had her first calf, a bull calf with her.

 I tagged, gave a MultiMin shot to 1002's bull calf and continued through the cows. My heart dropped as I saw 1002's sister 9002 lying on her side and did not detect any movement. As I got closer 9002 swung herself to a prone position and I could see 2 feet protruding from her vulva as she was in the process of birthing. I took Tommy back to the trailer, reloaded him and moved down the road closer to where 9002 was calving. I got the OB chains in my pocket as well as some pulling handles and then used my binoculars to see what progress 9002 was making.

At this point I could see that 9002 was rapidly commencing to birth her calf. I headed out on foot with my OB chains, pulling handle and camera. I calve about 225 cows a year but rarely do I actually witness a live birth. As I ran across the corn stalks I saw that 9002 quickly pushed her calf out and I got within video range just as she stood up. She took a quick bite and swallow of her afterbirth aka placenta and then went to work cleaning off her newborn heifer calf. 

Both 1002 and 9002 are daughters of 2002. This cow 2002 has more daughters (3) in the herd and more granddaughters in the herd (2) than any other cow on the place. It is both an honor and a privilege to be around these amazing females of the bovine species. 

My plans of doing some paper work today did not materialize.My plans of gathering posts and hot wire fence from the place the cows were last at did not happen. But I did end up enjoying a great day, watching tremendous cow families contribute to what I do for a living! As the afternoon progressed I was unceremoniously tossed from the flatbed of Elvira my 1998 Dodge pickup as Dakota forgot to place the transmission into 4LOW and the clutch engagement sent me flying off the back. As I laid there on the ground of the ranch that I grew up on I could not help but laugh as I realized that as many in this country watched the Chris Dorner saga and talked about last nights Grammy awards I was just a cowman doing what I can to make a living while feeding the world. I am truly blessed to be an ordinary man living an extraordinary life! I ended the day at a Franklin County Cattlemen's Association meeting with good friends, good food and good drinks.

As I march on through this life and witness the spectacular power of Mother Nature daily I am constantly questioning the idea of God or a higher power. In my days of working with Mother Nature there is no doubt that there has to be something bigger out there than the human experience. Today's Cowman YouTube music selection is a bit different from the "twang" Country I usually embrace. I first heard this song on an episode of the HBO hit the Soprano's but I think it truly captures the deference I have learned to give everyday life and the infinite possibilities each day brings! "Well I have handed all my efforts in
I searched here for my second wind
Is there somewhere here to let me in I asked
So I slammed the doors they slammed at me
I found the place I'm meant to be
I figured out my destiny at last." Basically Mother Nature I am your stooge, what you throw my way I will deal with as best I can.

I present to you Kasey Chambers and hope each of you can embrace the idea that life is not scripted, life is not perfect, unless you let life be! Remember all pics can be viewed full size by clicking on them and although I still dont have my comments working you can email your thoughts on this and any blog post to