Any given Sunday we are late for the early church service. It’s not due to lack of effort, but for whatever reason there is always something that ends up setting us a few minutes behind. So a Sunday morning surprise is usually when we arrive a couple minutes early or at least on time. The few times we have made it just in time, they’ve started without us anyway. It’s enough of a surprise that when we made a half hour early on Christmas Eve the priest congratulated us and asked if we were told mass was at three instead of four. Hey, if we don’t make it to the early service, we don’t make it at all! And if the sermons were a little shorter, there would be a better chance of the whole family getting to sit together and get the message rather than taking turns hauling the little ones out because their one and two year old attention has been lost. Just a thought.
Last Sunday however the surprise was much greater and yes we were a couple minutes late as usual. Mike and I had it together that morning and were on schedule to make it to church on time (7:30 am by the way). He went out to feed the cows and I was getting the kids a quick something to eat to tide them over until mass was through. The phone rings just as a little girl’s handful of juicy watermelon hits the floor.
“Hey, put your boots on and bring a towel to the barn! Wheezy had her calf and it’s out of the fence!”
Sure! Why not?! We need to be in the car in five minutes.
“Ok little girl, on the floor for you. Melon can be eaten standing, or you’ll fall out of the highchair. I need to go help daddy in the barn.”
I grabbed the first towel I could find and “ran” out the door. By the time I got out there the calf was back through the fence and the distraught mama was calmed again… slightly. This was her first calf and she was still getting things figured out. By the looks of it, he was only on the ground for an hour or so before Mike found him. We were going to try and get the pair separated from the others so they could get things figured out without being on defense at the same time. With only half an unspoken plan we turned to head out of the barn and do a quick “cattle cut” with our big herd of 5 mini’s (ha!) and there stood the Little Boy. Mud boots on, hands in his pockets, quietly watching, not wanting to be left out of whatever Mama had to rush to the barn for.
Church! No time for separation right now. I stood quietly in the door of the barn and watched for a minute to make sure Wheezy was going to feed the little guy. She calmed and he started eating. All was good.
I picked up the Little Boy and we took a quick waddle around the corral so that he could see the new calf that caused the commotion while Mike went to the house to get the Little Miss in the car. The ride to town was filled with talk of the calf that the vet had guess to be due two weeks from now. As soon as mass was over the Little Boy was happy to tell anyone that he had a new baby calf and ducks were coming out of their shells!
After picking up groceries and breakfast with the family, I took the kids home as it was almost naptime and Mike headed to town with my dad to pick up a cattle gate for a different project. When home we went about our business as usual, unloading groceries and such. The kids wanted to go see the cows and off they went. With a new mama out there I was close behind them, I’m not sure how protective she will be. There she was, throwing a fit in the corral and the calf was nowhere to be found.
The Little Miss was quickly brought in for a nap. (Thank goodness she was ready!) Hand in hand the Little Boy and I went out to find Gus. (He got his name during breakfast) It didn’t take too long and I noticed a tiny black spot down the hill in the pasture. Heeding to my instruction “Wait here.” I left the Little Boy watching from the top of the hill and headed down with the rope halter. Here’s where Tales of the Pregnant Farmer meets a slight déjà vu. It wasn’t too long ago that I was doing the very same thing during a snowy November, home alone with the Little Boy, pregnant and carrying Elvis back to the pen. (The Elvis story is not one listed in Tales of the Pregnant Farmer, incase you go searching.)
It was quite easy to get the halter on Gus. He was pretty well settled in to his spot in the sun and not interested in moving. I scratched him for a minute and just in time, Mike and dad pulled in. Mike was in the pasture in no time to pick up the calf that wasn’t planning on walking back on his own and knowing full well I was planning to carry him myself. With instruction on the easiest way I’ve found to carry a calf we were on our way to the barn. By this time, the Little Boy and Papa were talking to the cows and came over to greet Gus. Wheezy was anxiously waiting for him on the other side of the fence but we decided to take advantage of the separation of long horned mama and baby and banded him right away.
After things settled down towards the end of the day we were able to get the girls and Gus penned in in the cattle panel section. They can have their space from the Elvis and G.W. and Gus won’t be able to escape again.