View from the home place last week. All the firefighters in their bunker gear on that 105* day would like to
throttle thank the dummy rocket-scientist who tossed out his/her cigarette butt. The wind wasn’t blowing much or the guys might’ve been chasing it plumb to Kansas.
What a difference a week has made. Last week’s blog post–A Dry and Thirsty Land–was written while the thermometer was at 105*, the wind was blowing straight off the desert of Mexico, and us ever seeing rain again in SW Oklahoma seemed like an impossible dream.
This afternoon, the temperature is 71* and we’ve had rain off and on for the past two days. I have lived in Oklahoma a good portion of my life and Gramps was born here, but neither of us can remember such cool weather and rain from the northeast in July. We are most grateful to the Giver of rain for coming to our aid.
While the cool spell lasted, Gramps decided to wean some calves and move the cow herd to one of our places about ten miles away. The cows are much less stressed if the temperature is cool.
Gramps baiting the ‘girls’. They know if they follow his truck when he honks, he will give them something tasty. They and the calves followed him into the corrals.
Gramps was a pipeline welder in a former life, so he builds our pens. He’s got this one engineered so he can sort cattle and load them by himself if needs be.
Here, he’s sorted off a group of calves from their mamas. Some of them he’ll wean, others he’ll place on the new pasture with their mothers.
Gramps and Son #2 trying to talk the girls into loading. The cows at the front want to go out the back again, so Gramps and Son #2 are shoving the ladies’ big, fat rumps with the gate. That trailer holds fifteen cows without crowding and twice as many calves.
The cows from a previous load met us at the gate of the new pasture to see if we brought their babies. The calves don’t get carried to the new pasture with their mothers because the cows step on them and sometimes even break their legs, etc. Imagine, if you will, this human-mother/cow-mother parallel: The most inattentive young human mother at the park. She is on her smart phone, her opposable thumbs flying as she texts rombl (rolling on my baby laughing,) omgisoha (oh my goodness, i stepped on her again,) and my favorite: odigtspohh (oh,dear, I’ve got to stop pooping on her head). All this while her precious baby, whom she loves, crawls away to the flying merry-go-round and then to eat dog doo-doo off the lawn if she survives. That is why we are so thankful cows do not have access to internet out here–they are careless enough as it is.
Gramps, preparing to release the cows inside the trailer. He’s carrying his cow prod. It’s a fiberglass pole and weighs about as much as a good catfishing pole. The prod would break if anybody hit a cow too hard. Our grandkids use them for pretend sword fights–and sometimes if the sword fighting gets too hairy–as real weapons. Accompanied by screams, tears, and tattling.
Water, beautiful water from the new well! The water is still a little gritty, but it’s sweet, and good, and very cold–since it’s coming from 160′ below ground.
The girls exploring their new digs. We ended up turning out seventy-six cows, the herd bull, and thirty calves too young to wean. Gramps weaned thirteen calves a few weeks ago, but today he weaned thirty-six more. That means thirty-six mamas were making quite a racket, bawling for their calves all night. Our neighbor, Delford, might’ve had a noisy night out there at the farm. (But, he has a hearing aid he can turn off. I’m sure he was fine.)
Gramps and Son #2
Finally, fellers, a fashion and marriage tip from Gramps: If you’re trying to keep the old gal at the home place happy, tuck in your jeans while you’re working cattle. Your boot tops’ll keep mud and poop off your pants legs and you won’t track it all over the house.
ALWAYS REMEMBER, fellers: If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.
I hope y’all have found this glimpse into our cow operation simply fascinating. If you didn’t, please remember it next time you hear in the media how badly livestock people treat their animals. Almost all of us take our responsibilities to our animals seriously and the ones who don’t probably mistreat their kids and their grandma, too.
Something to consider: The livestock people are the ones who usually get dreadfully mistreated. Imagine a twelve-hundred-pound fatso stepping on you, or kicking you, or blowing snot on you, or squeezing you half-in-two behind a gate!
But, most of all, remember: No animals were harmed in the making of this blog post.
Thank you so much for reading and until next time, God bless all y’all and enjoy Jake Hooker doin’ The Cattle on a Thousand Hills. (For some reason the embedding is disabled for this video but I really like it, so click on the video title to watch on youtube.)
*These artists don’t necessarily endorse my blog, I just like ‘em.