It’s been said, “Free advice is always worth more than advice you have to pay for.” Barb said she remembered a time when farmers used what we call today “alternative medicine” on themselves and their animals. They had lots of uncles, medicine men and quacks to seek advice from. One gave himself a cow dose of penicillin and another one poured Coppertox on a sore. They both survived.
Then there was the story from the old days, about the two brothers whose dad bought a 700-pound Brahma bull at the sale in Eau Claire. On arrival at the farm, Dad diagnosed that the critter had lice. Lots of us save our used motor oil for a variety of uses; on the gravel drive, painting corrals, warts or cat repulser. He told the boys to “oil him down.”
Junior, the older brother, couldn’t find any motor oil, they’d used it up on an ol’ pony treating him for thrush. Looking around for a medical substitute he laid eyes on the big diesel tank. He reasoned that diesel is an oil, or a product of oil and thus, would be as good as used motor oil for louse treatment.
He instructed his younger brother to pour a pint into their hand sprayer and spray the bull thoroughly. An hour later Dad came up from the corral and asked, “What’s wrong with the new bull?” Junior allowed he had put oil on him, just like they’d been ordered, then added that it was diesel.
They all went down to examine the bull and he looked like he had been rained on with black molasses! The poor bull was breathing in gasps and was weazing.
“We got to get that off him!” said Dad, alarmed. The boys lead the bull over to the spigot, got buckets and a hose and, as Dad watched, they began the bull wash. Mom had a bottle of Dawn dish soap. They hosed and scrubbed and rubbed and sprayed for an hour until the bull began to recover, then did another 30 minutes to be sure.
When they finished, according to Dad, the bull looked cleaner and calmer. He still smelled like diesel so they powdered him with Johnson’s Baby Powder. He smelled like a newborn when they finally were done!
The bull survived his bout with ‘alternative medicine.’ Six months went by. He now weighed over 1000 pounds and was sleek and fat. They sold him to a local rodeo producer and told him the infamous “Lice Treatment” story.
You can guess what they named him. “And now, out of chute No. 2 rodeo’s answer to the Dodge 2500 6-Cylinder Cummins Turbo, the one and only Diesel Dawn!” ❖