Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Down on the Farm: #51

Last week was a busy week!  Two of the kids started spring soccer and they are assigned on different days, so I end up going down town Tuesday through Friday.  On top of all the running around I had to do, Richard ended up having to go move our cows out to the desert for a few days.  This put me in charge of feeding the cows and the horses, the dogs and the pigeons.  A friend chose the night Richard had left to deliver our twenty-one heifers he had been using, and so I was responsible for feeding them, too. 

As I walked over to start chores, a jerking motion caught my eye.  There was one of the calves with its head stuck between the welded metal panels and the waterer.  Of course these kinds of things only happen when Richard goes somewhere! 

I don't know how long the poor thing had been stuck, but it seemed worn out.  I studied the situation and, being at a loss of how to help, decided to do some more chores and then come back to it.

Ten minutes later, I was in the same position feeling the same frustration at my inability to do anything for the struggling calf. 

While I was trying to push the calf's head every direction, I became aware of an audience.  The twenty-one heifers, being on the opposite side of the fence from the stuck calf, had gathered in a semi-circle three feet behind me.  They were all silently watching, and if truth be known, laughing at my incompetence.

I led the little herd to the far end of the field and opened a gate into another pasture.  The animals trotted past me to the waiting feed.

As I turned back toward my frustrating situation of the stuck calf, I was astonished to find one of the heifers I have just mentioned, standing across the fence from the calf, licking it and rubbing it with her nose.  Usually, cows stay with the herd, especially when the herd is excited and waiting to be fed. This unusual sight touched me, forcing me to pause. I realized I needed to relax and enjoy life. I am so blessed and have no reason to complain.  Sometimes we get so caught up in life, we forget what's really important. This was a great reminder to why we had chosen this lifestyle. It gives us the opportunity to slow down and see God's hand in everything around us.

 The mothering heifer had a tag in her ear; #51.  I locked that piece of info away so that I could make sure to tell Richard.  She was definitely a keeper, sent to our little ranchette with a message.

I walked to within a few feet of the touching scene and watched for a time.  The heifer acknowledged my presence and then went on comforting the tired calf.

With it getting late and my own little herd of kids by themselves up at the house, I decided I needed to take some action.  I told #51 to go on and eat and I would take care of the calf.  As if she understood me, she gave the younger animal one more lick and then meandered off toward the open gate.  Just when you think those frustrating animals don't have an ounce of sense, they go and do something like this, proving you wrong.

Although I have already told the punchline of the story, some of you may still be wondering if the calf got out.  Well to continue, I tried again to push the calf's head in a number of different positions.  He was so much stronger than I am and he insisted on fighting me the whole time I was trying to help.  I backed up, and with a silent prayer running through my head, asked for a little Heavenly Intervention.  The calf immediately gave one mighty jerk and was free!  Just like that!

Just another glorious day "down on the farm!"

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