On Thursday, April 16 (my birthday no less) I became the proud. . . um. . . grand heifer?! of a beautiful bouncing baby calf born to one of our newest family members (she's only been here for about 3 months or so), "Wild Thing". Wild thing is black with a white face and got her name not from the fact that she is mean, but because she is very skittish around people. We think she may have been abused at one point or was possibly through one too many auctions where she was moved along by the dreaded cattle prod. At any rate, Thursday we noticed her all alone on the upper pasture when all the other four legged residents of the pasture had come down for supper. Upon close inspection, we noticed something moving beside her. Hubby and I hopped on the four-wheeler and rode up to meet our new addition. Of course we couldn't get too close, but we were close enough to see a mini "Wild Thing" (looking just like mama except wearing "sun glasses") staying very close to its mama. We were a little concerned about leaving them by themselves on the upper pasture because of the coyotes living up on the mountain, but there was no way we could get close enough to mama and baby to coax them down.
Friday evening, we looked up and noticed that Lily (our black Angus heifer) was on the upper pasture limping. "Wild Thing" was bellowing and from where we were we couldn't see "Mini". Once again, we hopped on the four wheeler and raced up to see what was going on. Lily was sure enough favoring her front left leg like she'd been hurt. "Wild Thing" was still bellowing and there was no sign of "Mini". Of course we imagined the worst - coyotes - and were devastated. "Wild Thing" was pacing back and forth in front of the fence and actually let us get within a few feet of her before she ran off. On the other side of the barbed wire fence was "Mini". We couldn't tell at first if she was dead or alive and you can't begin to imagine our joy and relief when she opened up her eyes and looked at us. She had evidently scooted underneath the fence sometime during the day. Hubby was able to climb the fence and get to her. If you've ever tried to pick up a calf, you might appreciate what my poor hubby went through. That sleepy little innocent thing, not much more than 24 hours old, turned into the Tasmanian Devil - all hooves and legs. She (we were able to determine by that time that she is a she) was hollering for mama. Mama was hollering for her. Hubby was trying his best to get her restrained (all we had with us on the four-wheeler were a couple of bungee cords) so he could get her over the fence and I was standing there not knowing whether to laugh or cry.
We finally got her back over the fence and decided this would be the best time to take mama and baby down to the lower pastures where it would be safer for them. :Picture this. Me on the back of the four-wheeler, "Mini" draped across my lap sandwiched between me and hubby, and "Wild Thing" running around like a . . . well, like a wild thing. We decided to put them in the smaller pasture we'd re-seeded after we sold the horses. It would be safer and they'd be separated from the rest of the family for a while. Great idea! Right? Weeeeeeeell . . . . Hubby dropped "Mini" and me off in the small pasture and then went back to coax "Wild Thing" in there with us. He had no sooner pulled away than "Mini" started to look for a way to escape. Not to worry, there was no way she could get away. Right? WRONG!
Picture this. "Mini" managed to make her way to the drainage ditch at the end of the pasture quicker than you'd imagine something that young could make it anywhere. Of course she found the one place that the fence was high enough at the bottom that she could wiggle under. I grabbed her hind legs and tried to pull her back, but she was faster, stronger and evidently much smarter than me because she managed to get away in 2 seconds flat. I hollered for hubby, but he couldn't hear me so I did what I had to do and went after her.
Picture this. OK, the calf got through the fence, so it couldn't be that hard. Right? Evidently fur is much more forgiving with barbed wire than fabric, because I managed to get stuck on the barbed wire in 2 places. I swear "Mini" turned around and laughed at me before she kicked up her heels and took off running down the road. Gracie didn't know what to do. I couldn't get her to go find hubby, so I told her to follow the calf, which she did! So . . . "Mini" is running down the road with Gracie following her, I'm trying to get unstuck from the fence and hubby is across the fields oblivious to anything but getting "Wild Thing" up to her baby. I finally managed to get unstuck and started running after Gracie and "Mini".
:Picture this. A black and white calf running down the road with a red hound dog following her and an out of shape middle aged woman in red scrub pants and flowered scrub top (I hadn't been home from work for very long when this whole thing started so I hadn't changed my clothes) several hundred feet behind them. Every time I closed in. "Mini" kicked it into high gear and ran a little faster. Gracie finally gave up and sat down on the side of the road and watched me chase "Mini". About ten miles down the road - OK, OK, it was only about 1/4 mile, but it seemed like ten miles to me - I managed to catch up to the Tasmanian devil calf. I got my arm around her neck and got her turned around just as a pick-up truck came down the road. I pulled her off to the side of the road and tried to get the guy in the truck to stop and help but he just waved and drove on by. The good Lord put a log on the side of the road just for such an occasion so I sat down on the log with my arm still around "Mini's" neck and tried to figure out what the heck to do next. Gracie showed up about then and I was able to get her collar off of her and on to "Mini" so I'd have something to hold on to while we headed back for the farm. About that time a car came down the road with a lady and her teenage daughter in it. They thought my big black dog had been hit by a car and I was sitting along side the road with it. They stopped to see if they could help. Picture the looks on their faces when they realized that my big black dog was actually a day old calf. I asked them if they could go back up to my house and see if they could find hubby and send him up to help me. The teenager stayed to help me hang on to "Mini" and the wonderful woman went off in search of hubby.
Meanwhile, unbeknownst to me, hubby had come back to the small pasture and found us missing. He didn't now where in the world we had gotten to so he looked all over the pastures and then decided to look up the road. He went as far as the hill in front of our neighbor's house and turned around because he didn't think there was any way we could have gotten any further. He went back the other direction and when he didn't find us there, he headed back to the farm. That's where the nice lady found him and told him where we were. He got to where we were, thanked the nice lady and her daughter, and helped me figure out how to get "Mini" back to her mama.\
"Mini wanted nothing to do with getting back on to the four-wheeler, so since she had Gracie's collar on, I hooked one of the bungee cords to the collar like a leash and off we went. Picture this. A day old calf wearing a dog collar being led down the road by a middle aged lady in red pants and flowered top holding a bungee cord follwed by a guy on a four wheeler and a hound dog bringing up the rear. About half way home, "Mini" decided she was going to try to head back the other direction, got scared by the four-wheeler and the hound dog, had to be wrestled to the ground by the lady in the red pants and flowered top becuase the bungee cord was wrapped around her legs and ended up back on the four-wheeler draped across my legs, sandwiched between hubby and me. We finally made it back to the farm, reunited "Mini" with "Wild Thing" and this middle aged lady in the red pants and flowered top hobbled into the house to inspect her bumps and bruises and scratches and wonder for a brief instant why I ever agreed to become a farmer at this time in my life.
Picture this. A beautiful black calf with a white face and sunglasses nursing from her beautiful black and white mother with the rest of the cows and the donkeys grazing peacefully around them. That is why I agreed to become a farmer at this time in my life.
Blessings from The Creek!
P.S. For some reason I can't upload pictures to my blog. As soon as I can, I promise a real picture of "Mini" and "Wild Thing". . . but NOT the middle aged lady in the red pants and flowered top.