Welcome to our ranch near Canada's west coast in Beautiful British Columbia's West Chilcotin mountain region. Where calling the vet means hollering back at the house to bring your kit, new friendships are formed from the back of a horse and true fun for a five year old is getting a machete for Christmas. Where 'cutting the dinks off' has a totally different meaning than what first comes to mind, Muck Boots are a household name, a hand shake still means something and the coffee is always on.
Wednesday, 13 April 2016
Reposting Baxter Black
As mum and dad prepare to head in to the Williams Lake Bull Sale, I've been doing quite a bit of research on bulls. We are looking to try a different heifer bull or two, and see if we can get those birth weights down for the first calf heifers. Although our luck has generally held for getting the calves out and keeping everyone healthy, they are just too big on average. Anyhow, in my research I came across a site (progressivecattle.com) and then got slightly sidetracked into the blogs..... A good chuckle and a good read. On the Edge of Common Sense: Neat and tidy calving by Baxter Black Published on 24 February 2016 This is the time of year when cow people don’t get much sleep. If you boiled “raisin’ cattle” down to its bare bones, the whole business revolves around gettin’ a live calf on the ground. Folks outside the wonderful world of calvin’ season probably have some peculiar ideas about what happens. Maybe they think a heifer calves like chickens lay eggs; nice and clean, no muss, no fuss. Others might picture a sterile operating room with attendants gathered around in masks and rubber gloves saying things like “Push!” and “Nurse, wipe my brow and clamp the cord.” A neat, tidy procedure done in antiseptic surroundings – not unlike the manufacturing of venison sausage. Neat is not the word I think of when assisting at a calving. Instead, insulated coveralls come to mind, as well as mud boots, chapped hands, rope burns, slippery chains, wet knees, sweating at 10ºF above zero and midnight. In fact, calving involves a whole lot more than simply inserting a coin, punching a button and watching a can of Diet Coke be born with a thunk. There’s that business-like confidence that guides you when you check the heifer pen before turning in. You see one that’s still trying. You can’t leave her in that condition all night, so you get ’er up and slog her into the trap or calvin’ shed. While you’re gatherin’ up the O.B. chains and pullin’ off your jacket, a wave of nervous worry washes over you and settles into your gut. Anticipation builds as you reach in for your first feel around. Hope surges when you make the initial pull on the calf. If luck is on your side, an enormous sense of relief follows. If not, that sinkin’ feelin’ soaks in right down to your bones. It’s then that you do what your calling in life has prepared you for. It’s done with all the experience, skill, compassion and dogged determination you possess. The buck stops on your shoulders. It’s up to you and her to get the job done. Finally, the calf comes. He plops down on the straw, wet and sleek as a porpoise. You tickle his nose; he snorts and shakes his head. You rub him down. You watch him struggle to three legs, fall and then try again. You pick up your stuff and back outta the pen, leavin’ mama and baby alone. You stand there a minute. You hear her talk to him. She’s lickin’ his face. The wind is cold on your back. Snowflakes melt on your cheek. In the presence of this miracle, you don’t notice.