So Happy Together!

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.

Soap #2–The Old and Curmudgeonly: Sleeping Through the Storm

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.

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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, 

Amen.

Breaking Ice

I have a new BFF today.

He’s my good pal.

My buddy.

My friend.

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.

Picture

I’m ready for an early spring.

Here’s some pictures of our world.

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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. 
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Notice all the wind breaks out here on the high plains.

The wind slices you like a knife.
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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.

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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. 

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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!

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And an ax.
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This is hard work, I don’t care who you are.

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Add the bitter temperature, this isn’t even close to being fun.
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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.

Wicked wind

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.

Cattle Prattle

My  husband thinks after 6 years of marriage, I should know all things cow related.  Here’s our conversation today (in a nutshell). 

Me:  I think I’ll get a mule.

Him:  Why?

Me:  Why not?

(pause)

Him:  I rode a mule once, it was a good sonab****

Me:  Isn’t a mule a cross between a horse and a donkey?

Him:  Yes

Me:  What are boy and girl mules called?

Him:  I think they’re called  Johns and Mollies. 

Me:  I thought they were jacks and jennys.   

Him:  Those are donkeys.  There are chickens and  roosters and hens.

Me:  (greatly confusticated, which is just my made up word, so don’t try to look for it in the dictionary.  You won’t find it.)  What’s the difference between a chicken and a hen?

chicken and hen----no difference
 

Him:  Nothing.  That’s what I’m trying to say.  (He begins to use his hands, as I’m a visual learner.  He puts his hands together in a group)  There’s chickens.  (He checks in to make sure I’m following him) And then there are roosters (hands to the left) and hens (hands to the right).  Like there are people. (hands in a group) And there are men (hands to the left) and women (hands to the right).  

I’m catching on ever so slowly.  My glazed-over look is beginning to diminish with just a glimmer of spark returning to my eyes.  Then he continues:

cattle and cow----no difference

Him:  There’s cattle. And then there are bulls and cows.

Me:  Don’t forget heifers and steers!

Him:  (closing his eyes and shaking his head)  That’s different. 

Me:  I’m confused.

Him:  I don’t understand why you don’t get this.

Two hours later and I’m  still scratching my head.

Never doubt there are awfully important conversations occurring in this household. 

World-changing conversations.

Just a few minutes he called to irately inform me that he cannot buy a 12 ounce aluminum can of Dr. Pepper at the Allsup’s convenience store.  They sell bottles in all sizes, and a six-pack of cans with a sign that reads “Do not break the 6=pack”,  but not a single serving can of Dr. Pepper is to be purchased.  So he went to a Taylor Mart convenience store and the same situation presented itself.  What is this world coming to? 

I think we’re heading to Washington to protest on the White House steps or march on the Pentagon.

Finally….

Dear Friends,

You’ll never guess what I’ve finally got my hands on.

I’ve been wanting one of these.

I’m going to hang it in my house.

Yes, I do believe I heard a barely audible shriek from my sister all the way in New York City. 

 To attain this gem, all I had to say was “I’d like a cow skull to hang up.  With horns.”

And waaa-laaa.

J-Dub found one right in the pasture for me. 

He even got a free rope out of the deal and everything.

Fortunately the coyotes have already eaten off all the flesh. 

And the worms and bugs have cleaned up all the skin and hair.

So now I won’t have to dirty up my stew pot boiling it up.

I’ve got the perfect place for it right on the dining room wall.

Don’t forget I’m available for decorating assistance if you’re going for the edgy cow town/chic trailer trash look for your place as well. 

And we hope to see you out to supper real soon.

Love,

J-Dub and Auntie

Preg Checking

There comes a time in every cowboy’s life when the question arises as to whether or not a cow is pregnant.  But only dudes say pregnant.   Real cowboys say bred.  For fear of embarrassing my husband, I shall only speak in cowboy lingo for this blog.  So try to keep up, okay?

Recently we acquired a cow that was believed to be 8 months bred on August 25th.  Cows are pregnant on average 283 days, just like a woman, which meant she should’ve calved (Dude translation:  given birth) back in September, October at the latest. 

As of December 27th, she still hadn’t calved, nor was she springing heavy (Dude translation:  showing any signs).  Click here for a visual.  So J-Dub questioned if she was even bred at all and thought she was probably open (Dude translation:  not pregnant).

Since cows don’t voluntarily lay on a table and put their legs in stirrups or pee on a stick on demand, there’s really only one cost efficient method to determine a cow’s state of pregnancy.   

For this method you need a:

1.  a cow  (for obvious reasons)

2.  a plastic sleeve (for obvious reasons to be seen)

3.  lubrication (for obvious reasons)

4.    one tough cowboy (for obvious reasons)

Here we see Maybelle looking a bit wary.  She knows something is up.  She has been penned away from the rest of the cattle.  And she’s not liking it one bit.

 

First, she takes a big ol’ crap.

Then she takes a big ol’ pee.  If you’ve never seen a cow pee, there isn’t anything dainty about it.  It’s a gusher.

 

Next J-Dub pens her in a chute.

And prepares himself by putting on a plastic sleeve and squirting some lube in his hand.

He enters the chute at the rear of the cow……

 

and does exactly what you’re wishing he won’t.

Sticks his hand into her #2 hole.  His arm rather.   

 Right into her poop chute.  He feels around a bit, concentrating. 

He doesn’t have to go too far until he pokes something in the eyeball.

“Yep, there’s a big ol’ calf in there”

And everyone is all smiles.

 

 Everyone except Maybelle.

A Failed Attempt

We have a bovine dilemma.

It consists of a cow who lost her baby and is left with a bag full of milk.

And a baby who was born a twin and its old momma doesn’t have enough milk for two which leaves it powerful hungry.

The logical answer would be to let the baby calf nurse a momma with a tight bag. 

But it doesn’t work that way.

That’s not her baby.  Which means she will not voluntarily let it nurse.  And even though you might receive touching emails about tigers adopting puppies or wolves letting bunnies hop around on their heads, it’s not the way it works around here.

So Jason forces it, in an attempt to see if this cow will adopt the calf.

After penning the cow and calf, he runs the big bagged momma into a squeeze chute.

Then he gets the poor hungry calf.
And puts it to the tit.
It doesn’t know what to do at first, but with Jason’s coaxing and cussing, it catches on.
So we wait.

Now I would like to end this story with good news. I would like to tell you that this momma adopted this baby, its little calf belly is pooching,  and all is well in the world. 

 But no such luck suckers. 
She isn’t going to earn the philanthropist of the year award in the bovine category.
But the baby was given to a little tyke to bottle raise.
And I’m sure its little calf belly is pooching.
And all is well with the world.
Peace,
Angel

Serenity Now!

My life is hectic lately. 
And I don’t like it.
I like peace and serenity.
I go visit the cows.
Aw, serenity.
The soft moos.
The whisper of the breeze through the bluestem grass.
The sweet suckling at the teet.
 The pictures of nature.
Aw,serenity.
Deep breaths.
Calmness in my soul.
Until Jason cusses.
See all these black ones?  And that charolais?  (pronounced shar-lay; that would be the white one)
See how they aren’t red?
They don’t belong here. They belong to the neighbor. They’ve busted through the fence. They think the grass is greener here.
It’s not.
It’s dead here too.
That creates more work for Jason.
That makes him mad.
All the cows in this pasture should be red. 
Like this pair:  a momma and her baby.

But this pair?  There’s something in the woodpile here.

This one has a booger.  It happens.  One of my second grade students needed two kleenexes, and announced “I have a lot of boogers.”  It just happens.

It’s still cute.
Serenity again.
 And then…..
these two.
They face off.
They go head to head,
 and toe to toe.
They kick up some dirt.
And some more.
ENOUGH!!!!  I scream.  Q—U–I—E—T!!!!! 
Aw, serenity.
Then we just lie in the pasture, and enjoy the day.
It doesn’t get much better than this.

WARNING: Bovine Porn

Hey Jason, whatcha doin’?

Checkin’ for springers.

What’s a springer?

A cow that’s gettin’ close to calving.

How can you tell she’s ready?

Any questions?

Ladies who are reading this blog:

And you think your backside looks bad??
I don’t care who you are, this has got to make you feel better about yourself!