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What a weekend!

Wow, I think I'm almost fully recovered from that weekend.  If you don't know, we started out the weekend with a sick puppy.  Well, things only got better on Friday night.  I woke up to the sound of him vomiting again at 4:30 in the morning.  I didn't have my contacts in so I couldn't spot the vomit right away. I kept looking around and then it hit me....I was standing in the vomit...that's why I couldn't see it.  After hobbling my way to the sink to wash off my foot and swearing under my breath, I vowed that this dog was going to the vet on Monday. 

He did go to the vet today and with his history the vet thinks it's one of two things: Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency or food allergies.  I'm praying that it's just food allergies instead of EPI, because the treatment would include expensive pancreatic enzymes each month.  So, we are going to do a little blood draw tomorrow and then start on a food trial.

But the most exciting part is our cattle!  All 21 cattle are currently accounted for on the farm.  Notice I say currently...because at one point some of them were NOT located on the farm.  Everything was going great with unloading the cattle.  The cows and bulls were out and had turned the corner to the paddock.  Our first mistake was letting the cows get too far ahead of the calves.  Cattle naturally want to follow each other.  Instead when we let the calves out, they shot straight ahead right through the electric poly wire.  Jon took off running after them trying to turn them.  He said he ran until he nearly vomited and headed them off on an old barb wire fence.  He almost had them with the rest of the group but the barb wire fence ran out before he got them to the paddock and they took off.  The next hour was spent chasing them through the field in an old '95 Ford Bronco in the dark. 

Jon finally got five of them rounded up and they calmly walked through the gate to join the other cows.  At this point, it's about 8-9 at night and dark.  We tried counting the cows, but we kept coming up with only 16 instead of 21.  At that point, we had to call it a night, because we were completely unprepared to find cows at night.  We had no 4-wheelers, no spotlights or flashlights, no rope, and nothing to feed them to get them to follow us.  We thanked our neighbors for coming out to help us and Jon and I were driving down the road, when we spotted two rogue calves.  We flipped around to try and lead them to the rest of the cows.

Here is where I needed to make a split decision and failed.  The calves were headed right towards the side of the farm that did not have good fence up and leads into a neighbor's cornfield.  I needed to head them off and turn them to the left.  Well, they were bunched up beside the electric fence and I couldn't get to the right of them before they shot out of the gate.  What I needed to do was suck it up, take the shock and jump over the electric fence to head them off.  Notice I said take the shock...I would have had to put my hand right on the wire and throw my body over the side of the fence. 

The cows shot through the gate and were making their way straight towards that cornfield.  We tried herding them in the Bronco again, but there was one of the calves was just weaned and was very skittish.  Ultimately they got into the neighbors corn field and we lost sight of them.  At this point we called our neighbor back out to help us, which he very thankfully did.  The highlight of the night was around 10:00 pm when I was stalking rogue calves on foot with an arm full of alfalfa and a cellphone for a flashlight.

Let me just repeat that one...tracking rogue calves through a snowy cornfield with an arm full of alfalfa and only a cellphone for a flashlight.  I definitely wondered at one time how I got to this point in my life...  Luckily my neighbor and Jon found the calves at a neighboring farm.  Then I needed to make my way out of this cornfield, which was not easy at night since I had gotten turned around.  No need to worry though, the almighty cellphone came to my rescue!  At some point I had jokingly downloaded the Super Compass as a way to argue which way was North with my husband.  It was very humbling to walk out of this cornfield with the help of the compass on my cellphone. 

Eventually we got the two calves penned up for the night and headed back to get some sleep before we loaded them up the next morning and corralled them.  Neither one of us got any sleep though, on top of the two nights that the dog had us up at all hours.  Like I said, it was an exhausting weekend.

Lessons learned from this weekend:
1.  Be prepared when working with cattle.
2.  Be prepared when working with cattle.
3.  Be prepared when working with cattle.

Catch my drift?

Luckily Jon was able to buy a 4-wheeler he next day and you better believe we stocked up on flashlights, rope and anything else we could think of.

We are headed back out to the farm tonight to build more fence and check on cows.  I didn't get pictures this weekend, but here is one that looks exactly like the rogue calf that caused us so much trouble.

Lisa  – (February 28, 2011 at 4:59 PM)  

My motto-"Expect the worst and hope for the best". In every situation think of all the things that could possibly go wrong and prepare as much as you can. And when it all turns out alright-CELEBRATE!!!!

Yeoman  – (March 1, 2011 at 8:07 PM)  

I can't imagine working cattle without a horse.

Not that I'm suggesting you get a horse. Horses are there own deal, and you really have to know how to use them. I don't have, and won't have, a four wheeler, however. But as long as I have cattle, I'll keep a horse.

agirlonafarm  – (March 2, 2011 at 7:43 AM)  

I never really wanted a four wheeler, I figured we both could use some exercise. I wish Jon and I knew how to ride horses, but neither of us does. I would like to have horses, but I don't know the first thing about them. So, we compromised and got the four wheeler. And it is every so handy.

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