(sigh) Two weeks. Two weeks of not tying or walking the cow. That was all it took for Sweet Caroline to no longer allow me to walk up to her in the pasture and put the halter on her. In fact this morning I couldn’t even put the lead rope around her neck like I used to do when she was unsettled to keep her standing nicely so I could then halter her.
The first week was my own fault. I didn’t get out there to work with her like I should have. The flu came to our house and I just didn’t make time to walk the cow too. The second week I am going to blame on G.W. the bull. We had a little go-‘round one morning when I went out there. It wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been but it left me with a sore back for a few days. After that we moved to a temporary three pen system.
I’ve got the baby in the high chair feeding him his second lunch when the phone rings.
“Hey, uh, can you come out here for a minute?”
It was Mike and it seems a fair amount of stories start this way on the farm. So I moved Boy 2 to his play seat so he won’t get into anything while I’m out, throw my boots on, grab some gloves and run out the door.
The morning was off to a great start, in fact if I didn’t know better I would have thought we were trying to make it to church on a Sunday morning ending up late as usual. This morning, however, we were off to Cavalier, North Dakota. We made it to the end of the driveway when the first spider dropped from the roof right in front of my face. I screamed, threw the mail that I had just pulled from the box and almost caused Mike to hit the ditch. I had no idea where the spider went and from that point on was on edge to say the very least. About a mile down the road a huge spider dropped by Mike. Again I screamed and reached for the door causing Mike to swerve a bit. He got that one. Along came spider number three a few miles past that. It was another big one, it got the same reaction from me and it went missing. We stopped at the only gas station on the way and Mike searched it out and took care of him. “One more spider and I’m going to walk” I said. We were a few minutes late out the door to begin with but nothing that we couldn’t make up, after the attack of the spiders we were late. Cyril and Scout made it do daycare in time for breakfast and we were finally on our way. Almost. We had to stop at my parents and pick up my dad’s truck and a friends trailer. With Emerson in his baby carrier strapped in the back seat, we were on our way.
Its official, I have to start wearing pants to the barn in the morning. I held out as long as I could. The time has come where my short summer night gown and long, fuzzy bathrobe is no match for the sub-zero temps and biting wind. Winter is once again here and my feelings for morning chores haven’t changed; they’re still my favorite. A bonus this winter is I’m not too pregnant for coveralls to fit!
The new hayloft gives some extra insulation over the cow pen despite the barn walls that are quite drafty. In fact after a good west wind everything has a heavy dusting of snow because the barn boards have weathered so much over the years. On the extra cold mornings the refuge of the barn is welcomed, as it’s always a few degrees warmer in there. When the mornings are warmed up to -15 in the barn pants are a good idea.
Dearly Beloveds, I have gathered to you here today…(pause)… to brag about my cow. Sweet Caroline is living up to her name. I have been working with her, getting her really used to the halter and lead rope. It’s been two weeks, roughly, and this morning was the first test. Yesterday I turned her out with the herd. I always hate the first week or so when adding a new cow to the bunch. They reestablish a pecking order and they are so mean about it! They butt heads, prod with horns if they have them and I just don’t like it. So far, Caroline hasn’t gotten it too bad. She took to G.W. (the bull) within minutes of being out there. That was nice.
Anyways, the test. I always did my training in the morning and was planning to do the same today. I just wasn’t quite sure how I was going to get the halter on her and make our way quietly to the barn or get the others out of the barn and keep her in. At this point carrying a bucket of grain will get everyone’s attention and would not be of any help. Instead I just went with some healthy alfalfa hay for breakfast. No one was in too big of a hurry to exit the barn as I tossed the bales into the corral. They made their way single file to the pile. Lucy, Wheezy, G.W. Gus, Humphrey. Caroline was already out in the dark. I’m sure they ran her out of the barn between last night and this morning.