Spring is in the air.
Trees are budding, tulips are blossoming, and heifers are birthing.
Heifers are young cows, first-time mamas. I might even be as bold as to call them teenage mothers. Unwed, teenage mothers. My husband says you have to watch heifers closely because some of them have a little bit of mothering instinct, but they also don’t know what they’re doing. For example, an old cow won’t leave their baby right after it is born, but a heifer might come a running at the feed truck, and then wig out when they realize they just left their baby. They’re inexperienced.
Because of their inexperience, a good cowboy will put them in a smaller pasture, close to some pens, and check on them sometimes twice a day, just in case one of them runs into trouble with calving.
Tonight J-Dub needed to check the heifers. So I tagged along. Only one time have I witnessed a calf birth, but it was under poor circumstances, and I would really like to see another one. No such luck tonight. We arrived right after the baby was born. Probably 15 minutes.
The mother and baby were off by themselves.
You can see the afterbirth has not completely been expelled. The mama cow was licking him and cleaning him up, which is a good sign and shows that she is going to accept him as her calf.
When she saw us driving through the gate, she got a little agitated and began bellowing at him and nudging him a bit aggressively. He hadn’t even stood yet and she was eager to get him up and out of there.
We didn’t stay long. It’s best to let nature have her way, and cows don’t send out birthing announcements. They like their privacy. So we headed home. As we were pulling off, I asked J-Dub if he could tell if it was a boy or a girl. He said it was a boy.
I came home to blog about this beautiful birth, and of course my pet chicken Freedom wanted out of the box. She was perched right on my hand and I was just typing away. I thought to myself, what a cute picture. I grabbed my phone to take a shot, trying to get Freedom, my hand, and the keyboard in view, and just as I was about to click the picture, Freedom squatted down and took a grunt right on my desk.
Look closely and you can see the squirt shooting out of her chicken butt.
I can easily say this today, on a Sunday.
More specifically the Sunday after I’ve had 8 days off of work.
Maybe tomorrow morning I won’t feel the same. Tomorrow. The dreaded Monday. More specifically, the first day back to work. The first day back to work after Spring Break. The first day back to work after Spring Break and Daylights Savings Time. The first day back to work where instead of driving 10 seconds to get to work, I must drive 10 miles.
But this Sunday morning was glorious, and I can easily say it was my favorite time of day.
Where I now live, in the mornings, the cows in the neighbor’s pasture lumber their way, softly mooing as they go, to a barbed wire fence to stare down this county road. J-Dub says they’re waiting for the neighbor’s feed truck, but I have yet to see it arrive.
Hoping for breakfast.
But their curiosity of me and my camera gets the better of them.
In the mornings, the birds sing softly. I gaze towards the telephone poles and the fence lines looking for them, but never find them.
As you can see, there aren’t many trees to perch in. They must be hiding in the grasses, raising their song of hope towards the heavens.
In the mornings, the grass is a little wet from the dew and the fresh breezes gently blow, refreshing me.
In the mornings, I set my coffee cup in the pasture so I can operate my camera. And the horse poses for his portrait.
In the mornings, the sun warms the blossoms of the fruit trees, giving hope of new life. And sweet apricots.
Mornings are filled with hope.
Hope of new beginnings.
Hope of fresh starts.
Hope of happy days to come.
My cowboy husband J-Dub needed to move some cows on Saturday. They had grazed down a pasture pretty well and needed some greener grass. You know, over on the other side. It is typically a rather large job for one cowboy alone to move 90 cows from one pasture to another, so he moved most of them with the feed wagon, aka the cake wagon, aka the feed truck. Cows recognize the Chevy that feeds them and once trained they most of them will follow the feed truck from here to kingdom come. Or at least into the next pasture. He later planned to get horseback to go pick up the few stragglers, the loners, the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to breathe free.
It is not uncommon for a mama cow to leave her baby calf to come feed. J-Dub noticed this one mama cow in particular who approached the gate, almost stepped over the threshold, almost crossed into the Promised Land of Greener Pastures, but then thought better of it and turned to go find her calf that she had abandoned for the buffet line. J-Dub made sure to leave the gate open so once they paired up, they could return to the rest of the herd.
Side note: While my husband was telling me this story, I just couldn’t understand it. It has been ingrained into my brain as a cowboy’s wife to ALWAYS CLOSE THE GATE! I just couldn’t understand why in the Sam Hill he would leave a gate open and allow all those cows that he just moved to return to the pasture he wanted them out of. But then he oh-so-very-patiently explained to me in his most gentle, most soft-spoken, sweetest voice that they had grazed the old pasture down and the grass was better in the new pasture. And of course any cowboy’s wife worth her weight in Wranglers would know that cows will stay in the pasture with the better grass. Hence, I hang my head in shame.
All the moving of cows here and yon happened on Saturday. On Monday, he noticed the same mama cow wandering aimlessly, with a tight bag (a sign that her baby had not nursed recently) through the grazed pasture looking for something she’d lost. And it wasn’t her ear tag she was looking for. She and her baby, unequipped with GPS, still had not found one another. It had been 2 days. A baby will typically return to the last place it nursed, and it’s mother will find it there. But this baby must’ve gotten a wild hair and ventured farther than the street lamp. J-Dub drove around the pasture, looking for the baby without any success. Needing to get on to other duties, he had no choice but to leave.
Today when he checked on the cows, the situation was the same. A mama with no baby. A baby with no mama. After 3 nights without the protection of its mother from the Big Bad Coyotes that roam freely, without the warmth and nourishment of its mother’s milk, the likelihood of the calf surviving was bleak.
But alas, I will not tell a tale without a happy ending. Not today anyway.
J-Dub decided he would get horseback and go to the far end of the pasture. He began bawling like a little baby calf. This was an act of trickery so the mother cow would think it was her baby bawling instead and follow. It worked. She followed J-Dub over to the far end of the pasture where lo and behold, a small miracle occurred and the baby calf was found alive. They were reunited and it felt so good.
The calf’s little belly is full, the mama’s bag is no longer engorged, the gate is closed and all is well.
My little town got 8.5 inches of snow Tuesday night, and they cancelled school. And as an added bonus, we don’t have to start school until 10:00 this morning. Yippee Skippee!!
Snow days don’t come around often, and I try to enjoy them. I spend my day in lazy gear, reading, writing, facebooking, napping. My husband on the other hand, is like a fish out of water. He turns the TV on, then turns the TV off. He sits in the recliner, then sits on the couch. He lets the dogs out and lets the dogs in.
Finally, he got still long enough to sleep a little. I decided a picture of these three old dogs was in order.
He didn’t work because he took care of everything the day before.
He double-fed the cattle and put out hay, but I’m sure those cattle will be glad to see him and the cake wagon (aka the feed truck) today.
He was prepared for the approaching storm.
It reminds me of a story I once read by an anonymous author:
Years ago a farmer owned land along the Atlantic seacoast. He constantly advertised for hired hands. Most people were reluctant to work on farms along the Atlantic. They dreaded the awful storms that raged across the Atlantic, wreaking havoc on the buildings and crops.
As the farmer interviewed applicants for the job, he received a steady stream of refusals. Finally, a short, thin man, well past middle age, approached the farmer. “Are you a good farmhand?” the farmer asked him. “Well, I can sleep when the wind blows,” answered the little man. Although puzzled by this answer, the farmer, desperate for help, hired him. The little man worked well around the farm, busy from dawn to dusk, and the farmer felt satisfied with the man’s work.
Then one night the wind howled loudly in from offshore. Jumping out of bed, the farmer grabbed a lantern and rushed next door to the hired hand’s sleeping quarters. He shook the little man and yelled, “Get up! A storm is coming! Tie things down before they blow away!” The little man rolled over in bed and said firmly, “No sir. I told you, I can sleep when the wind blows.”
Enraged by the old man’s response, the farmer was tempted to fire him on the spot. Instead, he hurried outside to prepare for the storm. To his amazement, he discovered that all of the haystacks had been covered with tarpaulins. The cows were in the barn, the chickens were in the coops, and the doors were barred. The shutters were tightly secured. Everything was tied down. Nothing could blow away. The farmer then understood what his hired hand meant, and he returned to bed to also sleep while the wind blew.
So it is with life. Can we sleep while the wind blows? Are we prepared when the storms of life arise?
There’s marital troubles, financial troubles, job troubles, relationship troubles, health troubles.
There’s pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich.
Sorry. Bubba came to mind. It happens.
Here’s my SOAP for the week. It’s my new way of Bible Study. S stands for scripture, O for observation, A for application, P for prayer.
Scripture: In Luke Chapter 4, Jesus was sleeping during the windstorm.
35 On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” 36And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. 37And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. 38But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” 39And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. 40He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” 41And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”
Observation: Even the disciples who had seen Jesus do miracle after miracle were afraid during the storm. Their faith was tested, they didn’t feel prepared. They didn’t think Jesus cared about them.
Application: During storms in my own life I have cried out that same lament, “Do you not even care?” But he does. I know he cares for me. He had told the disciples to get in the boat, we’re going to the other side. He’s with us every step of our journey. Side by side, through all kinds of weather. Through the sunshine and the rain. When we give our lives to Him, ask Him to direct our steps, strive to follow Him, read His word, and pray, then we can be prepared for the storms of life. Knowing he’s in the boat with us, taking us to the other side, through the storm and all will help us feel peace.
Prayer: Dear Lord, I love you and I thank you. I thank you for my good times, and I thank you for the storms that you have seen me through. I thank you because I know that you will be with me in the storms that are inevitable. I pray that through You, I will always be prepared when the winds toss my little boat. Hide your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Guide me on my journey. Keep me safe.
In Jesus’ name,
I have a new BFF today.
He’s my good pal.
He’s a little furry.
And maybe a little smelly.
But I don’t mind at all. Especially today, when he doesn’t see his shadow.
I’m ready for an early spring.
Here’s some pictures of our world.
Yesterday it was 5° at 5:30 p.m. with 30 mph winds. After you do all that meteorological mumbo jumbo that comes out to equal -15 below zero wind chill.
Notice all the wind breaks out here on the high plains.
Coming down the road, you can see that the cows are thirsty. Instead of getting down into the breaks out of the brutal wind, they are huddled around the drinking tub.
But this is a first.
My husband J-Dub has seen many cows, and many drinking tubs, but has never seen a cow standing on top of a drinking tank before. Frozen solid.
It’s a wonder she didn’t fall through. She weighs approximately 750 pounds.
When I stood on it to cross over into the other pasture to chase a rolling black Stetson, it began to crack under my weight.
Which means I out-weigh a cow.
Probably by 100 pounds.
Not a happy thought.
It’s a real wonder I didn’t fall through. I carefully held onto the post and tiptoed on the edge.
J-Dub had to break the ice for them to get a drink. If you wonder how he does that, it’s probably how you imagine.
With his brute strength!
It’s tough being a cow.
And tougher being a cowboy.
Today my sweet husband had to break ice on 18 different drinking tubs across the panhandle of Texas.
Did you enjoy your hamburger today?
Be sure and thank a cowboy.
The weather today is no joke.
I went with J-dub to go feed a little. We came upon a herd of yearlings huddled around a water tank attempting to drink from the frozen tank.
J-dub grabbed an ax and began chopping ice. I got out to snap a couple of pics and before I knew it, my legs about fell off due to frostbite.
The wind whistled and roared across the great plains and cut us to the bone. Then it decided to get smart and whipped J-dubs hat right off his head and landed it on the other side of the fence.
Being the helpful hand that I am, I attempted to open the gate, but to no avail. So as my hard working, hatless husband swung his ax and shards and chunks of ice flew and splattered, I, with much trepidation walked across the frozen drinking tub into the other pasture to retrieve his hat.
Just as I was upon it, that wench of a wind decided to have some fun with me, and snatched the hat and ran farther away.
I’m sure it was quite a sight. A black cowboy hat tumbling across the pasture with a dumb ninny chasing it.
It would’ve been funny if it hadn’t been so dangerous. Even bundled up and running as fast as I could in snow boots, it didn’t take me long to realize how fearful and dangerous a winter storm with a 14 degrees below zero wind chill can be.
But now we’re home, safe and sound, with hat on head, or at least on a hook, fixin to chow down on some beans and cornbread, and counting our blessings.
Stay blessed and warm.