This was one of THOSE days--the kind that I think God designs so as to develop character in a person......
It was decided a few days ago that we'd sell most of our milk cows tomorrow, along with the rest of the calves from last spring (the price is up nicely now....) So, todays work was cut out for us.
First, we (everyone except for Mother, who had appointments in Bismarck all day) sorted out the milk cows and hauled them in to the sales-barn. (It was sad to milk only one cow tonight and not have the others waiting outside the door to try to get in. I'm not sure if it's really registered yet that our friends of 5-6 years will be sold tomorrow....)
Once the milk cows were off the farm, we tagged and retagged a few animals that needed identification. At this point, it started to drizzle and it eventually began raining a cold rain, which lasted the rest of the day. We sorted calves in the deep mud and loaded about a dozen at a time into the stock trailer, at which point, either Dad or Andrew would haul them into town and come back for the next load. There was a total of 6 loads to make, so it took most of the day. My brothers and I did evening chores inbetween loads...
When dealing with cattle, there seems to always be times of frustration, as they have a mind of their own! Thankfully, everyone was kept safe though...
When the last calf was on the trailer, my dad asked Andrew if he'd checked on "That" calf yet--to which the answer was, "No, not yet." I asked which calf he was talking about, and Andrew filled me in that there's one they've been feeding electrolytes to for a couple days. My brother then went out to check on "That" calf, but came back saying he hadn't found it, but found another one that needed attention, as it was very cold and wet and couldn't get up very well. I went out with him then to help give the calf some medicine and then to help look for "That" calf. Well, in the process of looking for the missing calf, we found another calf that was in dire need of help! The poor thing had climbed up on the pile of very wet manure (my dad had cleaned out the pole barn about a week ago and made a pile until there's time to deal with it further) and the little calf had somehow managed to fall into the wettest part, which was more like a lake of mud. All that we could see of him was his head! YUCK! Sooooo, as Andrew and I were in the loader tractor already, Andrew just took the bucket and started pulling manure away from the middle of the pile--where the calf was stuck. He finally got it away enough, but the calf wasn't able to get out on his own, so I got in the loader bucket and Andrew drove forward so I was right by the calf. After several tugs on the calves' ears and head, I got his front legs out and then, as I was all dirty already anyway, I grabbed around his middle and pulled him into the loader bucket with me. Talk about a bad smell! We hurried the baby to the clean straw in the calving pen and got Jacob to bring some blankets to dry him off with (it was Jacobs' calf). Then, Andrew went out to look for "That" calf again and found him at last, hardly able to stand. Andrew came back to the farmyard for Jacob and I and we rode in the bucket (in the rain and mud and ....) to pick up "That" calf, and we decided to take the other one (the one that Andrew found first) into the barn to warm up too.
About this time, Mother got home.
As I was heading for the house, looking and smelling terrible, Mom asked me to help her get my dad's fragile birthday present in the house (more on that another time), as it had fallen out of the van when she opened the back hatch and was lying (in a box, thankfully) in the mud. Mom gave it to Dad early, as she said she couldn't bear to wait another two days to find out if it had broke or not--which, thankfully, it hadn't!
A nice long, soapy shower later, I am sitting here writing about this day, listening to the rain fall on the roof of our cozy home, and praying for the all the little calves who are trying to stay alive and well in all this schmuck. (Yes, that is a word, in German I think.) Your prayers would be appreciated too, for us and for all the farmers who are going through much the same experiences we are at this wet time of the year.
How was your day? :)