Note: this blog post includes death, so if you’re faint of heart and don’t want to read about it- stop here.
Real life on the ranch, can be so bittersweet. Things don’t always go as planned. It’s the ups and downs of ranching or farming or any sort of animal agriculture.
Yesterday started out as any normal spring day- we needed to get our cows moved to a “fresh” pasture. I had planned, initially, to ride a colt out to do this- then I was told that I might need to go to town, so I grabbed old faithful (Gump) instead, thinking I’d need to be able to hurry the process along, or leave the job early.
Here’s some of the boys saying “Hi”, yesterday.
From L-R: Gump, his little brothers Festus, and Dino, Banjo and Dozer.
We made it to the pasture and got our cows started moving. Then we came across this:
Poor Mama. She had just delivered a very big, very red, and very dead calf. She was proud of it nonetheless and had it licked dry and was loving it to get up. Poor girl- she just had no idea it wasn’t gonna get up. By the time we finished our job for the afternoon, she’d laid down beside it and was waiting for it to wake up. Yes, this breaks my heart, but it happens. We left her there, because there was no point trying to move her yesterday. Wednesday maybe, but yesterday, No.
Then I moved a playful group of first calf heifers and some late calving cows:
As we rode along I managed to startle this little guy:
He was certain that either I or Gump were his mama. He tagged along, closer than I’d have preferred, to my horse for a little while:
Sadly for him, no mama came to claim him and when we went across a creek, he just gave up trying to cross, climbed up a hill and went to sleep. No worries, though folks. Mother nature has a way of working these things out. His mama will find him. I promise. There is no stronger bond on the planet than that of a mother and her baby.
After we lost our cute tag-along, we crossed our final creek to make our last push for the other pasture. When we got to it, the cows all bailed in- to mud up to their knees. Several of the little guys didn’t think they could make it. I had ridden up the creek and over to a little peninsula to keep anything from going the wrong direction. As I sat there, I watched our hired man help these little calves across. Several of them had mamas that stood on the other side encouraging their little ones to just come- they could do it. But one mama cow, she left her baby there and the hired man was not in the proper equipment to wade into calf deep mud. So since I was donning my very stylish, always practical muck boots, I volunteered to help a very, hefty heifer across the creek. He held Gump for me. Initially I just thought I’d pick the little girl up. But seriously, she was 85 lbs of pure muscle and I’m an out of shape girl, so I promptly fell back down. I decided I’d aim her for a section of creek where it wasn’t quite as muddy. She was certain she couldn’t make it, as at one time, she just sat down to catch her breath- which I must say was nice, because I was out of breath too by then. After a few more urgings and helping her through the mud, she made it to the other side, just in time to meet her mama who’d come back over the hill after her, once she realized she’d not made it across.
Burt ponied my horse across the creek, and I stood in the stirrup just in time for Gump to swat at one of the few flies that’s around right now, and he managed to cover me in mud from his tail!
It ended up being a good thing I didn’t ride a soft colt through the mud and the muck and the day- we covered probably 15 miles and while my horse was still relatively fresh at the end of the day I wasn’t.
Oh well, such is the life of a cowgirl.
I will have the contest results done tomorrow. I promise. In the meantime, I’ve got fence to fix and colts to ride.