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April 14, 2014
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Gwen Petersen: In a Sow's Ear 4-14-14

Skijoring: a sport usually involving skis, snow and either a horse, mule, dogs, motorcycle or automobile to pull the skier. You may have participated in or observed one or another of this form of recreational activity, but have you ever skijored behind a cow? Few have.

Skijoring, Cow Style

In Springtime in Montana

when calves are ready to be born;

Every two hours I check the mamas

until the break of morn.

For sometimes there’s a mother cow

has trouble birthing a calf,

Which means that I must act as midwife

and work on her behalf.

No matter if it’s cold or warm

or whether dry or muddy,

With OB straps, I sally forth

even if it’s cruddy.

I see a cow; she’s lying down;

she’s in a lot of pain;

She’s having trouble birthing;

she’s exhausted from the strain.

I ease my hand inside her channel

and feel the calf is there;

He’s ready but his mama’s got

no energy to spare.

I wrap the feet in the OB strap

and wait for the next contraction;

Mamma cow is breathing hard;

then suddenly she’s in action!

She lurches upright; she slobbers, she

snorts, she snuffs and bellows wildly;

I cling to the OB strap;

I’m in a pickle to put it mildly.

She’s a derailed four-legged slobbering freight

train, bellering louder than thunder;

I hang on tight to the OB straps

as I skijore ’cross the tundra.

I scoot and skid, slide and swerve through

the poop and the goop and the mud;

Then the calf falls out of mama’s rear

and drops to the ground with a thud.

And I, no longer being dragged,

go down beside the calf.

Mama bovine’s mad as heck;

she wants to tear me in half!

But the membrane is over the newborn’s nose;

he’ll suffocate unless

I get it off so he can breathe;

I know he’s in distress!

On my hands and knees I moosh through

the mud and yank the membrane off,

An angry cow snorts mucus on me;

the calf emits a cough.

I breathe a sigh as the mama heifer

claims her bovine baby;

Then I slosh to my feet and realize

I’m less than a well groomed lady.

I’m coated with slobber and slime,

enough to make a vulture gag;

But I’ve saved a calf!

That’s money in the bank!

I gotta right to brag!

I slog to the house and shed my

cruddy stinky clothes on the porch

And enter the kitchen where my hubby

— the man for whom I carry a torch —

Sits near the stove with his feet propped up

and gives me a beaming smile;

“Hi, Hon,” he says. “When’s lunch?

My stomach thinks it’s been awhile.”

Lunch!!! I roll my eyes.

(Would I be forgiven if I killed him)?

But hey, it’s calvin’ time,

so I guess I’ll let him go on livin’.

“We’ve got a new calf,” I say with a laugh

(instead of an outraged roar),

A cute little white-face Baldy;

I gave him a name —

I call him Skijore! ❖

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The Fence Post Updated Apr 10, 2014 10:23AM Published Apr 28, 2014 02:43PM Copyright 2014 The Fence Post. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.