Guess what, Friends? The calves are SHIPPED! You can’t deny that THAT day is one, if not the very best days on the ranch. The year’s work has finally paid off and you can see the results of your labors. You don’t have the stressful responsibility of keeping the calves healthy and alive. Things just turn calm and slow and I love it!
You would think that the slow down and relief would be mostly for The Rancher, but I too am relieved for when the calves on are gone.
I’ll you why…
Because without fail, EVERY year, there are calves out. And not only are they getting out, but they get out when there are no ranchers around to put them back in. We have been back to the ranch several years now and I don’t think that there is a single weaning season that we have gone through without a few calves sneaking out.
In some regards, I’ll take any chance to earn some Rancher’s Wife Stripes and have The Rancher owe me for dropping everything and helping out. But dropping everything just isn’t a convenient thing when you are a busy mom. Plus, the stress of putting the calf in the wrong place or just NOT getting a calf in at all makes me wonder if the Rancher’s Wife Stripes are even worth it!
This year was no different, of course. You would think that I would have learned by now to not schedule anything on the days that the guys are gone. That way I would be ready for the break out and have the time to put the sneaky buggers back in. But I haven’t.
Just a few weeks ago, I had a project that needed done and I had a tiny window of time between getting kids’ homework done and getting dinner going. I’m outside, minding my own business, trying to keep The Cowboy Kid off of the busy road in front of our house, and getting some work done when I see a handful of calves walking through my garden! Lucky for them, I had pulled everything out of there that I was planning to use. If the peas had still been growing, those calves would have been in big trouble…
So I scoop up my baby and we start them back to the pasture. The trouble with putting calves back in, especially around the ranch yard is that you never know where they are going to go and what is going to pop and get them. We have chased in circles around the homes or through the equipment sheds. E dogs have come to help only to chase them in the wrong direction. This time they actually head back to the field ok, but just as we were getting to the gate, the chickens jumped out.
This presented a problem in a couple of ways. One, it meant that the chickens were out, probably my least favorite critter to get back in. Second, it sent my already flighty and skiddish calves busting through the gate. They were hung up on it and in it and scurrying around it and I was sure we were going to have a wreck. When all was said and done, the gate was the only one worse for wear. There is a big ol’ bow in it and it doesn’t swing exactly right…. But The Rancher can deal with that. I did put his calves in, after all.
That wasn’t the only day that the calves put a kink in my day. The week before we shipped calves was pretty packed for me. Which means that nearly every moment is scheduled and that I only have spare minutes to clean up the baby’s spilled milk, not put The Rancher’s calves away.
That day I had planned to get yard work done- the lawn mowed and leaves cleaned up, the flower beds cleaned up and bulbs planted. I’m cruising around the yard, thinking I was totally on top of the day, when I spot a calf out across the road. Then another. And then a whole pile of others… I’m pretty sure I rolled my eyes and cursed The Rancher under my breath but I parked my mower and jumped on the 4 wheeler to get the calves. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it only took a couple of minutes to get them back in. No catastrophes! I closed the gate and headed back to work. It wasn’t but a few minutes when I saw another handful of calves. I went through the same routine of rolling my eyes, really cursing The Rancher, getting the calves in, and heading back to work. Even before I got back on the mower, I could see a few more calves out and I knew that wherever they were crawling out from wouldn’t wait until the guys were home to fix it.
Being the great ranch wife that I am (HA!) and for my own sanities sake, I headed to the shop for tools, wire, and staples. After driving the fence the kids and I found a calf sized hole that the escapees had been breaching all morning and got to work. I would love to say that I just snapped out a beautifully fixed fence but that wasn’t the case. When the calves had broken the fence, they had broken a pole and loosened the wires. I’m sure The Rancher would have just replaced the pole altogether, but that was beyond what I was willing to do. A little patch job was going to have to be good enough. After about 5 trips of getting the right stuff, we had finally finished our crude attempt at fixing the fence. I knew it would hold but it certainly wasn’t the prettiest job… But it was done and the calves were in.
At least until my next busy day!
You can see how I am just as relieved as the guys that the calves are gone! Maybe this momma can get a little bit of work done around here… Probably not, but we are gonna give it a try!