Monday, November 28, 2011

Sometimes It's Just "Time".

Old Virg isn't doing very good.  He's 24 now and has had a good run for a ranch horse.  He's made the rounds from my ranch horse, to almost everybody on the place, to Dad's branding horse and finally was Cash and Grace's kid horse.  But despite best efforts to keep him going, sometimes it's just "time".

Am I sad about it?  You darned right I am.  But I'd sure rather him put down humanely than try to go through the winter and get down and suffer until someone can get there to put him out of his misery.  That's our responsibility as do what's best for our critters.

I paid $1100 for Virg when he was a started three year old, over twenty years ago now.  I'd only planned on paying $1000, but my last bid was $900 so it was $1100 to me.  I shook my head no when the auctioneer pointed at me and my dad said, "You're afoot.  You'd better buy him."  So I did.  I'm pretty sure I got my $1100 out of him.

I can remember several pretty long cattle drives that first year on him.  I think I must have ridden all the excitement out of him that first year.  Like Dad had said, I was afoot and he was the only horse I had at a time when we did a lot of riding.  By the end of that first year, he was pretty well broke and he acted like a lazy kid's horse. Which at the time, drove me crazy.  So I bought another young horse and only rode Virg for things like snowstorms and other bad weather and when my other horse needed a rest.  Pretty soon, Dad and my brother and anybody else who came needing something to ride got Virg.  That's about the time Dad learned that despite the fact that he was lazy and may or may not turn a cow, Virg would pull a house.  He wasn't a very big horse, but man....he would get down on his butt and pull.  So that was his calling in life for many years if Dad had to rope something.  Also when we needed a bull moved that wasn't too cooperative, Dad took a pitchfork and Virg and the bull "gladly" went where he was told.  Eventually, Virg started to get stoved up in his front end, so we turned him out to pasture with several other retirees.

A couple years later, when my friend and neighbor, Rusty asked if I knew of anybody with a kid's horse for sale, I thought of Virg.  He did have one bad habit that made me not make any guarantees, but I told Rusty if they'd like to try him for his little boy, Cash, he was welcomed to him.  But I didn't sell Virg to them.  He was on loan.....And Virg was great for Cash.  Rusty could lead him and Cash could go with Dad just about anywhere.  When Cash got a little older, Virg was good to him....except when they came to our branding.  Virg knew he was "home" and would try to go to the barn.  Whichever direction they went, Virg knew the way to the barn.  And when Cash outgrew him, Rusty and his neighbor Bob, traded horses so Grace could have an old kid's horse for a little while too.

But now it's Virg's "time".  He's been a good quite a few different people.  And even though he hasn't been here for several years, I'll still miss him.  He's part of my history, part of several people's history.  God Speed, My Old Friend.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Mama Cows

While we were bringing home the last bunch of pairs to wean the other day, I observed the mothering styles of the cows at the back of the herd.  In many ways, cows are not so different from humans.....

There was one brockle faced cow who was obviously a great mom.  Every few minutes, she would lovingly look over, sniff the calf next to her and make sure it was hers.  She really seemed "motherly" about it.  And she did not let that calf out of her sight....."Super Mom."

An older cow, who had probably made this same trip at least ten times in her life, would stop every so often and just beller as loud as her lungs would allow.  Then just walk on as if nothing had happened.  Apparently, her calf was buried in the herd somewhere and wasn't too worried about her either....."Experienced, Mom."

Another cow that was obviously lame, was just doing her best to keep moving with the herd.  I'm sure she was  a good mom by the looks of her calf.  Junior waited for her.  It was sweet to watch the calf jog on ahead for a minute or two and then stop until Mom caught up......"Mom Has a Disability, But We Make It Work."

Quite a few cows walk along with their calf in sight or very close by, always knowing where Junior is and checking on him every little bit, but giving him a little freedom too......"Stay At Home, Mom."

And some will plod along and all of a sudden "remember" they have a calf.  Frantic, they beller and make a fuss, maybe hurrying back through the herd sniffing every calf until they finally find the right one....."Drama Queens."

But the most irritating of cows are the ones that take off as fast as they can walk, heading for who-knows-where-but-they're-dang-sure-goin'-somewhere.....and their calves are back at the back lookin' for Mom the entire time.  Mom doesn't think about her calf until she's gotten where she's goin' and got her belly full......   "I-Can't-Believe-God-Let-You-Reproduce, Mom."

Maybe I spend too much time around cows and not enough around humans....

Monday, November 14, 2011

It's the LITTLE Things

Today was like a bad movie.  It had a not-so-great beginning and middle and a great ending.  OK, now that I think of it, I haven't seen any movies that were like that.  But read on, please.

We pregged (pregnancy checked) a little bunch of cows this morning.  The cows pregged up great, but were sure not very cooperative otherwise.  It made for a pretty long morning/afternoon.  When we were finally done pregging and had the cows out to pasture and fed, Matt and I ran home for a quick bite to eat.  And then I was on to feed three other bunches of cows that are pretty far from the house.  I was also planning to gather up an old, lame bull that has needed to go to the sale barn for quite a while when I got back from feeding those cows.  With this time change, daylight was not on my side so things were going to have to go pretty darn good for all of this to work.

Here's how the gathering of that bull needed to go to be perfect...I needed to know exactly where the bull was and it better not be very far from the pen.  He needed to cooperate and literally walk straight into the pen from the pasture.  There needed to be enough daylight for me to be able to see to back the trailer into where we load and I needed to back in perfectly the first try.  And the bull needed to load without much prodding.

Let me also tell you that I was loading this bull from our place, not Dad's.  We have only lived here a year and the pens and facilities leave a little (ok, a lot) to be desired.  We're working on it, but it takes time and money. We do not have an abundance of either.

So there were a lot of things that could go wrong.  But nothing and I mean NOTHING did.  It went perfectly.  PER-FECT-LY.  That does not happen in my world.  Things sometimes go pretty well or not so bad or "at least we got it done".  But things never go perfectly.  But today, something did.  Hallelujah!!! 

It really is the little things that make me happy...