I have been planning for today a while now. My plan was to outline a book I have been wanting to write for some time... but I'm an all or nothing kind of writer so it needs to be the only thing I do while I am doing it.
So, today I planned for that.
Then, the phone rang. "I heard you wanted to see a baby calf born? How soon can you get here?"
I'm leaving in 10 minutes was my reply.
There in the distance, next to the windmills is where I needed to get to.
So, almost 20 miles of dirt road later - and a really cool climb up the plateau you see in the distance - I made it to the ranch.
I still had no idea what was happening so I grabbed gloves and my camera and into another truck we went.
I thought we would be next to the house - new cow moms and all, but we drove another mile and a bit farther.
These expectant and new momma cows are all having babies for the first time so they get a much closer watch.
The owner of the ranch and his wife and me pulled up into the middle of the herd, they cut the engine, then asked me if I was planning on staying a while.
Well, panic was my first thought. My second was of course I had to relieve my self - tea and a very bumpy 20 miles of dirt road and well, you know...
"How long will we wait here?" I asked. "Oh, it could be from 1-3 hours," was the reply. More panic. I hate to be the the typical California girl here... but confessed there was a situation brewing...
Thankfully there were a few panels to hide behind - first thing you have to accept in the rural world, squatting is just something you have to do.
Mostly I was disappointed because I was in a truck trying to see a cow give birth who was hiding behind low brush facing the one way none of us could see much.
We hung around and watched the expectant mom walk, finally lay down, pop out one foot, lay around some more, make some pushing efforts, then she got up and walked away. This wasn't looking good so I asked what was next.
She'll need to be checked and then we will see.
So, he checked. He decided she needed help. And then this is where it all went wrong....
There were quite a few cows around at the same time. The plan was to get her into the corral where I had just visited and get ready to pull the calf out.
After some finagaling we got her in. There was a moment where I left a gate open and she tried to make a run for it - rural living rule #2, always lock the gate - got her back in, got her penned which consists of two cow panels in a V to keep her movements confined so - and the gross part - the arm goes in to her private parts.... I am wincing for her.
But.... she is not happy pushes her and the two panels out the gate in front of her which wasn't locked - not my fault this time!
And then she falls down and the plan is to do it quick. Not her plan, up she gets and off she goes to the farthest point away from all of us!
Okay, now what? After a lot of cow wrangling - I make a pretty good herding dog, or so I was told back at the sheep ranch - they drove, I walked and we got all the cows in a pen, then a few, then her.
And, it started all over again. This time I was front and center, or rather on her right side.
She still wasn't happy, but there was a lot less fussing. The key to pulling is going in and getting the two feet and using a wench to extract the calf.
So back in went the hand, thankfully not mine, and out came a whole lot of poop - everywhere. And splash it went on me, on the cow, but mainly on the man with his hand up her you know what. I was wearing gloves. He was not. I have learned on farms and ranches ALWAYS have gloves with you!
By this time I was dying for a drink of water, but happily traded thirst over gloves, good choice I think!
This time everything got hooked up and I even got to help pull, sort of - the wench was stuck so I helped push the gate it was attached to as leverage to extract the calf.
He came head first - I don't think that is supposed to be the way it goes, but I came into the world that same way, so instant bonding on my part!
He was also alive - yea! On the ground we all rubbed and watched to see if he could get enough air into his lungs. A little, still waiting.
He got moved out of the way and then a huge splat! - the rest of the gush came out of momma - happily I was far enough away to not get hit by this round.
And here he is!
I couldn't get many pictures since my hands were busy helping and then we needed to leave so the momma would go to him. Humans tend to interrupt the cleaning and bonding process.
People wonder why I chose to do all this and it is moments like this that are exactly why. Seeing a baby cow born may not be something everyone wants to do - but this life where man, animal, and nature all collide - is awesome.
Shopping malls, traffic jams, sirens blaring, and dee jays jamming are all distant memories of a life I left long ago. I never miss it, ever.
So thank you baby boy for letting me be a witness to your first day here on planet earth. Welcome to our world and may your horizons be vast, your grass green, and your days spent in peace wandering this beautiful land.
Oh, and tomorrow the yearlings are coming to stay where I am at. I am so excited, we'll have cows here for the next 6 months or so - so stay tuned and see for your self!
Welcome to my Journey!
I'm inviting you to join me on my journey as I seek to find a new way of being in an old set of systems. It's hard, but worth it!