I prefer winter and Fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Fred's Cows

Our son called this morning and said he was coming up here over night. We were delighted. I put some cloths on and went into town to get some supplies. Even when the kids are grown they like special  comfort foods. So I made a list and off I drove.
It rained all night and there were lots of downed branches on the road but nothing that I couldn't drive over or around. The storm was subsiding and it looked like I would make it down our country road to the highway without having to call The Prospector to come to my aid with his chain saw.
I went to the post office and then to the store. Then I headed back home.
As I past our neighbor's house near the highway I saw a new addition to the herd of cows that stay in the pasture across the road. I just had to stop and take some pictures. Look at this cutie with its mama.
I don't know much about cows so I don't know when this one was born but it's the newest and I hadn't seen it before.
Isn't it beautiful? Look at those sweet little legs.
A few years ago, when I was working at my last (and final) paid position, I came home and drove past my neighbor, his son, grandson, his wife and one of the local Ranchers all surrounding a young cow having her first calf. It seemed that the cow was having a hard time with the birth.
I stopped and asked if I could help. They all looked at me, in my work clothes, and then looked at each other and smiled. That did it.
I got out of the car, rolled up my sweater sleeves and said,  "What can I do?"
I guess they took this to be a serious question. They said I could help and showed me what to do. I got to pull the baby out with the help of the other woman and a come-a- long. The mom was too young and was having a difficult time of it. She kept wanting to sit down. This could not happen because the baby was halfway out and it would have broken the calf's legs. So the men kept her up, supporting her with boards and straps, and the other lady and I pulled on the calf. I never worked so hard in all my life. Finally the calf slipped out and landed on the ground. I was suppose to catch the calf so it didn't get hurt. I tried, but it was hard to hold on to a living thing that was bloody and slick as... you know the expression. I, more or less, got underneath the calf so it landed on my arms as it came out. Fred's wife was on the other side doing the same. What an experience it was. We finally got the calf on the ground without being harmed.
The heifer didn't want anything to do with the calf and so we had to "put them together", as Fred called it. Finally she got the message and within a few minutes the calf was up and feeding.
I've never been so excited in my life. You'd think I had given birth to the calf myself.
I drove on home that afternoon in a state of euphoria. When the Prospector saw me he thought I had an accident. I related the story and told him I wanted some cattle. He laughed.
Then, I went in and took a shower. I never wore that sweater again. What a gift it is to see an animal born. I will never forget this experience.
So this morning I stopped to take a few photos of the new addition to the herd and that memory came back.
I still recall the excitement. It was quite a wonderful thing and I knew then, that I would have made a good rancher. I know this could have ended differently. The calf could have died. That happens. I had watched a calf born dead in that same corral. It was very sad. But, the ones that survive make it all worth the effort.
I was standing at the fence thinking about all of this when one of the young black bulls came up to me. They usually walk away when I get that close, but they were all looking at me like I had brought lunch.
Then one of the cows came over to the fence.
He was making eye contact with me. He was very interested in what I was doing.

I thought he was going to smile. He was wet from the rain, dirty and  looking at me with such sincere attention that I started talking to him. " Hi, fella. Can I take your picture?" He was giving me the ol' sweet eye.
That's when he tried to eat my camera...
You've got to love this. These animals have the biggest tongues I have very seen.
He almost reached me. But, I surprised him first. I reached out and touched his nose.
Well, he didn't care for that.
He gave me a rather annoyed look.
As if to say, "You mean you don't have any food?" I was going to apologize but he turned away and that was the end of our close encounter.

Fred.... It's time to feed your cows.


  1. What a neat story about you helping to deliver the calf, and how you never wore that sweater again! The black cow in the final photos looks like he was making friends, even if you did not let him eat the camera.

  2. moo...how cool to be part of the birth...that is awesome...cows are awesome...have this boy i work with and going to a farm, petting the animals it changed his life...

  3. love that tongue shot. silly cow. don't they have the neatest noses?

  4. I love the way you put things. You have the most entertaining blog.

  5. What a wonderful, perhaps even life-changing, experience. Very cool.

  6. Great tongue shot. Not easy to get, I know, I've tried enough times! I've lost count of the number of times I've helped to deliver a calf but that warm, excited feeling never leaves. I stop to take photos of new animals along the road, too. My neighbours are used to it and no longer think I am "strange".

  7. oh my...I bow

    I love stopping along the road in Galena, Illinois just to talk to the cows....and I love when the babies are out in the pasture....pure delight
    thanks for sharing this wonderful event with us

  8. What a lucky cowgirl you are to have helped birth a calf! Wow! The things that can happen on the way home in the country! That bull looks a bit intimidating to me but I'd have probably done the same thing as you...great photos and wonderful story telling, as usual!

  9. oh wow, what a great story! I can just imagine the scene and trying to help the mama...good for you for jumping in to help. You truly have a way with animals, it's a very special gift and shows the kindness of your heart. Animals know...

  10. Another great and interesting story. I do believe animals do sense when a person is kind or afraid of them. I love the tongue shot. The baby calf is so cute I can see why you stopped to get the pictures. Have a blessed day. Madeline

  11. What an amazing collection of cow photos! That tongue was huge. LOL. You're an amazing woman to have helped out with the calf's birthing, girl! :-)

  12. Oh my gosh, what an inspirational story. You make me so proud!
    I totally agree that cows are just the cutest. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if someone would miniaturize a few (like miniature horses)? I would LOVE a miniature Jersey cow (I think they are the most beautiful cows in the world) and she would live IN my house. I’ll bet I could even get a little milk-----maybe as much as a whole cup!!!
    Dawn, the Charming Baglady

  13. I really enjoyed reading this.

    Let's just say it stirs memories of my own...I really should share them one day as well...


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