I cry at Happy Endings Too
Well, just another day on the ranch, heifers are calving so I thought I better stay close to home today. I have had 2 so far and both were no problem. I jumped in the tractor and went out to feed; low and behold there was number 3 standing by its Mother. That is something to make you smile!
Done with chores, brought the bulls home to get checked. I did notice that 1 heifer was starting to go into labor. I try not to get to anxious, but just the same noted the time and understood what was going on. I jumped in the tractor with the 3 dogs and went and moved some hay, seemed like a good thing to do instead of watching the heifer and making us both nervous.
Just as things go, this heifer did not seem to want to push this calf out, so after a (long enough) time had passed I left the dogs in the tractor and I headed her for the squeeze chute. The pasture that I have the Heifers in is not that big, but big enough when you are trying to get one away from the herd. Usually they will try to turn back to the herd, but with my soft talking and explanations to her as to why we were going into the pen she seemed to understand and never tried to get around me.
Once in the chute it just took a little maneuvering and out popped the new black little Angus baby, I am not sure, but I think it had a smile on its face when it hit my lap.
I quickly carried it to the front of the chute and in a split second the Momma was talking to the black little wet mess at her feet. I than let her out and she went right to work licking and cleaning it off. Yes indeed, feeling pretty good by this time, guess there was a reason I did not go to the Bull Sale today.
While I waited to make sure the Heifer was going to be ok, I thought I would check on the horses, not sure why I thought I needed to check on them, but I had let the old man (Cooper) in with his brothers and sisters to play with them. Cooper is 24, is on a special diet,and lives in his own pen, he is now in charge of baby sitting anything that needs to be baby sat, calf, cripple cow or whatever. If you are wondering why he is still here, its cause he earned it. He has been the most honest horse I have ever owned, he’s never cheated me a bit, been a baby sitter to anyone who could not ride and done his share of Rodeo and Ranch work, he is family. As I rounded the barn it looked like the old man was taking a sun bath by the bale feeder. But as I got closer I understood there was a problem. He had taken a nap, but when he tried to get up his back legs got in the feeder. Yep, a little panic at this point, I moved in close and started talking to him real soft. He was shaking and it appeared that he was worn out. He never moved as I put his head on my lap, petting his face and telling him it was going to be fine, just let me help. I had pulled the hay off of the ground that had piled up behind his back; apparently he had tried to get up for some time. I than grabbed his front inside leg, back inside leg and pushed as hard as I could. Well it took a couple of times and some doing, but I got him flipped back over. He stood up, shook his head and moved off, somewhat looking like he had too many Crown and waters. I started to walk away but turned to make sure he was going to be ok. I called his name and asked him if he was going to be ok. At that point he walked over to me and put his head in my chest. Well I guess just than it started to rain, because there were wet drops falling down my cheeks.
I walked back around the barn and there was the new calf nursing its mother.
I think as long as I live I will never feel as good about life as I did at this moment and I am sorry if you never get to experience such a humbling but gratifying feeling.
I guess I cry at happy ending too!
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From June through September, John Etchart spends most of the day driving a tractor through hayfields below the mountains near Meeker in northwestern Colorado.