Lee Pitts: It’s the Pitts 9-5-11
September 6, 2011
You have no doubt heard the statement that “a watched pot will never boil?” Well, I am here to tell you that a watched cow will never calve!
I developed this theory observing a heifer that fell in love with the wrong bull. She was supposed to be bred by my junior herd sire, a bull so thin he can’t cast a shadow. The bull of unknown origin looks like he was weaned on a pickle and the best description of him that I can think of is he looks like an old cow hide draped over the top wire of a barb wire fence. His hide flaps on his bones like a quilt hung over a fence.
But no, the heifer could never fall in love with the easy calving bull so that we could all sleep easy. At just 10 months of age she had to break through three fences to become intimate with a bull so big he could shade an elephant. The senior herd sire’s feet are bigger than a loading chute and I swear he must have had ticks on him bigger than his young love interest. The day this muscle bound bull was born surely the earth shook.
I basically had three options. I could have aborted the heifer, or I could have sold her to an unsuspecting neighbor. But since she was carrying my return address, a big brand, I decided to take my chances and hope she was too young to get bred by the brute of a bull. My third option, therefore, was to do nothing, which, it just so happens, I am exceedingly good at.
We were doubly surprised a couple months later when we were measuring the replacement heifer’s pelvic areas. The first shocker was that the heifer had the smallest pelvic area and the second surprise was that, yes, she was in fact bred.
So, we named her Patience, for reasons that will soon become apparent. Then we watched and we waited. Several times I would wake in the middle of the night to go check her. I had permanent rings around my eyeballs from the binoculars from watching her from afar so I wouldn’t disturb her. Her every movement was a sign to me that parturition was approaching. “Is she swelling up? Is her bag getting bigger? Is she walking the fence?”
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“No,” my wife would respond, “she is chewing her cud with not a worry in the world.”
We would sit for hours in the truck watching and waiting. “My patience is growing thin,” I told my wife. “It’s worse than sitting in the car waiting for you to get dressed and put on your make-up when we are trying to go out.”
“Why don’t you do what you do when you are waiting on me,” she suggested.
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Go ahead, honk the horn. I’m sure it will work.”
Then one day we were watching Patience patiently when I noticed something different about her. “Do you notice she is not as fat?” I asked my wife. “And is that milk dripping from her canteen? Patience has had a calf!” I yelled.
“You were expecting puppies?” my wife replied mockingly.
Sure enough, Patience had miraculously given birth to a healthy calf that already looked big enough for the weaning pen. He was huge just like his daddy. “You know,” I remarked as I marveled at the size of the calf, “Patience giving birth to that big calf reminds me of the time two of us had to carry a painfully heavy slate pool table down two flights of stairs, around two extremely tight corners and then through a narrow passageway.”
“Yeah, and you weren’t very patient with me then either,” my wife accurately recalled.
“After all our worrying maybe I should have known that cows are just like people and they have an inborn instinct for selecting the right individual to mate with.”
My wife looked at me in a disgusted manner and sarcastically said, “No, I’m very sad to say that not all of us are always that smart.”