Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Small Town Saturday Night

I remember Saturday mornings in the city. We would leisurely arise, eat breakfast, slowly sip coffee, browse through the paper, and then decide what we may like to do that day. Ah, the city life. Saturday mornings in the country are way more exciting than city Saturday’s! Oh yes folks, that’s the day when I chase foxes from my back door and dehorn and halter train calves. No rest for the weary around here!

Farmer-husband had decided that we would keep our bull calf “intact” and use him for future breeding. Because of the rumor that Jersey bulls are the meanest bulls on earth, the farmer said Bittersweet couldn’t live here and keep his horns, so the deed had to be done. And bright and early one Saturday morning was the day. A cauterizing tool was involved. A lasso was involved. A lot of wincing and looking away was involved (on my part). My sister from Miami wanted to know if we were going to give the calf any anesthesia. I wanted to know if she was kidding. She wasn’t.

Bittersweet sticks close to his Mama, which is a precious thing considering their history, but it makes it very difficult for us to catch him. Farmer-hubby has gotten quite good at his roping skills! It’s like our own personal rodeo right in our front yard. Again, can you get free entertainment like this in the city? I don’t think so. Once he was caught, and the dehorning in process, I decided that I better offer my services. Not that I have many services to offer in this type of a situation, but still, I felt I need to at least ask hubby. “Do you need anything?” I quietly offered from around the corner. Silence. Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t have said anything. I hear rustling and grunting. He then mutters, “Somebody stronger.” I almost said, “You mean someone stronger than me? Or someone stronger than you?” But I held my tongue. I figured I’d better wait on those questions. Hubby didn’t seem like he was in the mood to chit chat. So I waited, tried to peer around and see what I could see-nothing. But I could smell burning alright. I would later learn that hubby had burned his own hand pretty bad during the process as well. Ouch! Bittersweet didn’t enjoy human contact much before this event and I can tell you he surely doesn’t trust us any more now, after the fact!

For first time dehorners like ourselves, it was a difficult to know if we had done this procedure correctly and thoroughly. We're row croppers for pete sakes! It looked pretty good to us, but what do we know? Correction, what do I know? Unfortunately, when time tells if we have or not, it will be too late to do anything about it. Poor Bittersweet may just have to live his life with one or two peculiar shaped horns. I’ll try to never put him in front of a mirror.

The next Saturday was time for halter training. Once again, we had a rodeo in the front yard to get the lead clipped on to the halter. If you’ve ever put a leash on a puppy for the first time, you are familiar with what we were about to deal with. Bittersweet had not a clue that we simply wanted him to walk. He dug in his heels, pulled back his neck as far as he could, and put every ounce of his weight in his rear end. This went on for awhile, until his Mama came over to see what was going on, and she was able to get him moving forward for us. The scene in the pasture was this: Farmer hubby with a lead pulled taught on a calf that won’t budge, an 800-lb Mama cow (with horns) putting her 2 cents in on the matter, 2 youngens roaming about trying to herd the goats, 2 cats roaming about trying to herd the kids, 1 farm dog sleeping in the grass (she’s the only one with the right idea!) and me-taking photos and shouting ideas from the sidelines.

I’m telling you what- my Saturday’s have never been the same since I moved to the country and I can’t complain one bit!

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