Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 4-4-11
When I find the perfect digital gismo, my life will be perfect – or at least improved – from the sorry, if blissful, ignorance in which I currently dwell.
Should I wish, I could purchase a phone that will tell me the time, who’s calling me, remember stuff I’ve forgotten, take photos and probably fry bacon – if I punch proper buttons. And it will play a tune from its resting place in my pocket.
Should I be so inclined, I could have a mystery thing-um-a-bob installed in my truck which would tell me where my vehicle is taking me and locate me when I get there. If I want, I can acquire an electronic whatchamacallit that will give me access to the darndest collection of “social networking” internet arenas about which I know nothing.
All marvels of course, but I ask: Where and what digital doo-hickey is going to assist during calving, lambing and farrowing time? These are country events which guarantee rough weather, late nights, sketchy sleep (usually in the living room recliner), middle-of-the-night calls to the vet, swilling of gallons of coffee and living in the same clothing so long the EPA cites you for pollution.
Help is at hand, digitally speaking. Those 21st-century spiritual guides and counselors, Microsoft, Macintosh and Dell have come up with a computer program on birthing livestock. All you need to do is download the following onto your computer. Let’s say you have 10 first-calf heifers in the calving barn. What do you do? Follow this tutorial:
1) Click your cursor arrow on “Start” in the lower left corner of the screen; then click on “Control Panel” in the pop-up menu.
2) When the Control Panel window opens, select “Calving Center.” When Calving Center opens up, you’ll see Automatic Birthing under Birthing Essentials.
3) If Automatic Birthing choice does not appear, click on the Automatic Updates link under “Manage your Birthing Settings.”
4) Click on the Automatic button.
5) Select an interval and time for each heifer’s birthing to occur. The default is midnight. Click on “Apply” and then “OK” to save your changes. This will take you back to the Security Calving Center window.
6) Automatic Birthing status should now be ON under Birthing Essentials. Click on X in upper right corner of Calving Center to close and again to close Control Panel.
7) Now, run for the calf puller because Heifer A-9 is in trouble. There’s one tiny foot protruding from her backside. Hustle her into a small pen. Or stick her head into a stanchion if you’ve got such. Avoid riling her; you don’t want to be kicked. She might be gentle as a kitten, but she’s a whole lot bigger. If she’s lying down, that’s even better – it’s harder for her to kick you.
8) Roll up the sleeve on your right arm (if you’re right-handed). Are your hands clean? Insert hand, find unseen calf foot. Discover it’s bent back … but … thankfully, it’s a front foot! Gently ease it forward till two little matching feet protrude. Watch it! Here comes another contraction. Hang on to the feet! Pull in unison with Ms. Heifer’s contractions. Out pops junior or juniorette.
9) Mama heifer cow gets to her feet and takes care of her newborn. Best you get out of there without resorting to your newly installed global positioning gismo to tell you which way to go.
So much for digital birthing.
Seems to me this whole “information era” and digital anything is pretty much witchcraft. They used to burn witches, didn’t they?
And by the way I lost my cell phone in the barn. I’m waiting for it to ring so I can find it.
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Colorado Gov. Jared Polis is expected to sign SB 21-87, known as the Farm Workers Bill of Rights, though much of the content will be decided through the rulemaking process.