HOMESTEAD MATH: SEVENTEEN PLUS ONE EQUALS ANOTHER SEVENTEEN

17 BULL CALF BARLEY DARTS 2018

A long, purple tongue and one, small hoof was hanging out the backend of a heifer.  Numbered seventeen, this soon to be cow was struggling with her delivery.  So, Keith donned elbow-length, sterile gloves.  Fortunately, he discovered Seventeen’s calf was still alive.  But, it needed to be pulled.  The exam simply confirmed what Keith’s parents had already known.  And whether, it’s from years of experience, instinct, or both, they were right; once again.

A small chain was easily secured around the protruding, front hoof.  However, securing it around the other front hoof was an inside job.  Once the chain was in place, triangle-shaped handles for pulling were added.  Each time the heifer pushed with a contraction, the calf was pulled out; inch by inch.

CALF PULLING OB CHAIN BARLEY DARTS

Now, I believe Seventeen would say that writing about such things is physically easy, compared to doing them.  And I agree; wholeheartedly.  Why?  Somehow, I ended up behind Seventeen, squatting.  Soon afterwards, I was holding those cold, stainless steel, triangular handles.  But, as I also recall, Keith told me he’d be back in just a minute.  Well, kiss my grits and call me naïve.

You can also call me determined.  As Keith and his parents stood by me, Seventeen pushed hard and I pulled hard.  It was exhausting work for both of us.  But, after a while, I no longer felt the strain in my arms, legs, and lower back.  In fact, something magical was happening.  This fight for life was turning into a beautiful dance.

As soon as Seventeen and I found our rhythm, we got lost in time and moved as one.  Push-pull.  Push-Pull. Push-Pull.  Push-Pull.  Over and over, without missing a step.  First, I was greeted by front legs and a thick, mucous coated nose.  Then appeared a forehead with big, round eyes.  Next, two slicked back ears and the rest of the head, cannon-balled their way out.  Then two, slender shoulders twisted toward freedom.  Afterwards, there was a dramatic pause.  During which, Seventeen and I both took a deep breath.

Eventually, there was one more, albeit anti-climactic, push-pull.  Then two, back legs with a stubby tail simply slid out.  In fact, the lack of resistance caught me off guard.  And had a corral post not been nearby, my own legs would have slid out from under me, too.  However, I managed to catch my balance and stood up.

It was time to celebrate.  Seventeen and I had delivered a healthy, bull calf.  He, too would be numbered seventeen.  And with a quick swipe to clear his airway and remove the chain, our job was done.  Well, not actually.  It was just another beginning…

DALLAS WALK OUT

BULL CALF DALLAS WALK OUT MARCH 2018 BARLEY DARTS

Dallas, our juvenile bull, staged a walk out.  Ironically, it was this week.  And in all fairness, it was easy and looked like a good idea.

Of course, the grass often looks greener on the other side.  And Dallas enjoyed every minute of his protest.  However, he also lived to regret it.

Only a short-time later, Dallas became desperate.  He longed for the basics of real security.  The same security he’d taken for granted.  And the same security that had been paid for, by the sacrifices of others.

Now that it was gone, Dallas would pay a price.  He had to fight to get back what he’d walked away from.  Alas, it was much harder, and far more painful, than a walk out.