“Oh my gosh, I’ve married crazy!” my husband exclaimed soon after he realized what I had done. I don’t know why this was such a surprise to him. All the signs of “crazy cow lady” were there long before we became farmers.
Maybe it had something to do with the timing, but then again it has been two weeks and he is still saying that my behavior is not normal. I’m not saying he’s wrong, but I would argue that the “can do” attitude is normal for farm kids.
In the midst of our loss of his dad and prior to the funeral, I was doing chores and working at the farm when I noticed that one of our usual late calving cows was acting a little odd. It seemed like she was in pain, but there were no other apparent signs of illness or labor. I checked on her several times throughout the day and evening only to find her with a calf half born when I went the next morning. It was already dead and she did not seem to be bothered.
With a little effort I was able to get her into the calving pen and call the veterinarian. I wasn’t able to pull the calf immediately, but finally persevered. Biscuit has a history of twins and so I had the vet check for another calf only to be told that “No, that’s the only one and it doesn’t appear to be full term.” Something had been wrong.
So do I send the cow to slaughter in a few weeks or do I find a calf to try to adopt? It’s not a great choice, but cattlemen need to be able to pay the bills and despite the fact that all my critters have names, I have financial responsibilities.
“I don’t have time for this” I kept telling myself, but reason is futile in the face of losing one of my cows. Although, in my defense, it took me all morning to make that decision. (Ok, I’m starting to see “crazy.”)
Long story short, Dennis Henrichs at the sale barn was more than happy to help me find a calf that I would name “Esther."
It was at 12:30 p.m. on that Monday afternoon that “crazy” may have gotten a little carried away. When I told my husband about my day, I left out a few details just saying that my friend, Doyle, helped me with the adoption process and they were doing great when I left.
Tuesday, as we are driving to Iowa, I am recalling the events to my daughter when I notice a terrible look on Dave’s face just before he asked “How did you get that calf home?” I was kind of hoping he would never ask that question!
And so I had to tell him that when I handed the young man at the sale barn the receipt and told him that I was about to ask him “to do the most redneck thing he’s ever done” he looked at me and then at my Jeep polity replying “Not even close.”
Esther rode in the back without incident or accident I am proud to say. When we arrived at the farm she unloaded from the rear passenger door without a fuss walking into the barn. The process was smooth and she enjoyed our “toasty calf box” after she sucked Biscuit dry.
No, I don’t have any pictures because that would have been evidence and yes, I fully understand that from this point forward I will be “that crazy cow lady!”