Tuesday. Got an early morning phone call from a young man whose family lives close to our farm. He’s on his way to work and has spotted a calf out—on our property still, but very close to the road—so I need to come have a look. It takes about 15 minutes to get to him by the time I figure out that the four wheeler can’t cross the rain swollen creek and I have to use the van to take the long way around. Meanwhile he has picked the calf up and put her inside our fence because that’s the kind of guy he is.
I can tell she’s not ours because she doesn’t have the right markings for the breed we raise. But she’s awfully young, so she needs to get back to her mama. The farm across the street has cows, and it turns out (after rousting the owners up at a terribly early hour) that she does belong there, born yesterday. The mama had had a very hard time during birth, so that calf had been hard to come by. Apparently the tiny thing had later walked through the fence, and when she couldn’t figure out how to get back in, had just kept wandering.
The farmer lady drove her Explorer over and I carried the calf to the car and laid her in the back. “Thank you so much, you just don’t know what it means not to lose this little heifer!” Well yes, lady, I do. I call my young neighbor and pass along the old woman’s gratitude to its rightful place.
I don’t have to put out hay for the next couple of days, so I do other things I have put off. Before my family’s exodus, my son Jonathan had placed two mineral feeders in the pasture to give the cows access to salt and calcium. I needed to get one more out there. It is really big, and weighs… I don’t know, a lot. It took all I had to get it onto the four wheeler. And then there was no place for me to sit. I couldn’t even stand in front of it. So I sat on it.
It was ridiculous. I was sitting so high up my feet were propped on the wheels’ front fenders and I had to bend over to reach the handle bars. And every bump in the pasture about bucked me off. This would cause me to loosen my thumb from the accelerator so that the vehicle practically stopped, which would pitch me forward. I never got the hang of it and flung myself back and forth the entire length of the pasture.
And the cows saw me coming with something new. By the time I entered their pasture with this bright blue feeder, they wanted in on it. I drove ahead and got away from them, jumped down and wrestled that thing to the ground, and drove off just as they converged on it. Let them be disappointed, I’ll fill it with the salt tomorrow. With some help to fend them off.
Another small panic: our watering tank is down about a foot and a half! What’s that about? Is there a break in the PVC pipe somewhere?
A call to Keith: “Oh, yeah, you’re going to have to go to the main valve up at the spring and let some more water in.” I had no idea there was such a thing. I drive around as close as I can to the watering system by the spring—walking the rest of the way in ankle deep mud is no picnic, but hey, I’m burning calories.
I’ve not seen much of this new watering system, and Keith talks me through finding and turning a valve to release the water. A big whooshing sound startles me and I wheel around. Keith explains that’s a fifteen hundred gallon tank filling with fresh water that will make its way to the watering tank and that I can come back tomorrow and turn the valve off. I peek under the cover and sure enough, there’s a submerged holding tank with water gushing into it. Who knew? That’s pretty cool.