Happy Monday! First of all……I’ll try and keep this post much shorter than the last one. Second……this is not a politically correct story. So, if you are a “faint of heart” person or don’t like “hard core” stuff, this is not for you. On the other hand, if you are “brave of heart”, come with me. We are going to get the dirty work done. I’m going to show you what “working calves” is all about. Working calves consists of dehorning, vaccinating, and banding “nuts”. It’s dirty work, but very important. So, don’t wimp out on me here. I am the “surgical assistant”. My responsibilities are keeping the syringes full of vaccine, and handing the “dudes” all the necessary equipment. My hallucinations consisted of dreaming of my garden ( as in these sunflowers ) and flowerbeds or doing “housework”. Yes, I said that. Working cattle is not my cup of tea. This is my “cattle working” gang. They did fantastic work. It consisted of our mechanic and his 2 hard working boys. And don’t forget the hounds. They were there to pick up all the loose horns as soon as they were whacked off. That is “dog sushi”. Where are my farm kids? They took off for a youth group trip and to visit their grandparents. Oh, how I miss them. It’s just me and the “boss man” doing all the chores……..I’m just trying to keep my head above water until they come home. Help! This is not an easy job. Pushing the calves into the chute takes a strong dude. They were totally exhausted by the time we finished up. Vaccinating 100 plus calves will take it out of ya. Probably the most important “tool” I handed them was a cold Dr. Pepper. That was survival for everyone. We didn’t get any lunch………….who was going to fix it? I was assisting. I would’ve loved to fix lunch. As soon as they come in the chute they get checked to see what they have……..horns or nuts or both? If they had both, we called them “fully loaded”. That meant they needed to have their horns taken off, their nuts taken off, and three shots given. Some calves are polled. That means they were born without horns. They are the lucky ones. This is Josh. His job was to put the pipe in behind the calves as soon as they came into the chute. It helps hold them in place while we assess the situation. Haha Vaccinating calves is like vaccinating a human. They have to have it. Otherwise they contract all the “cow diseases” and get sick and die. This particular shot goes under the skin. That’s Earl pulling up the skin to inject the shot. This does not hurt….their hide is like boot leather. The only thing that might hurt is the sting of the vaccine. Ahhhh…..yes. This fat calf was ready to be banded. Out in the pasture….these are called calf nuts. On your dinner plate….they’re called calf fries. I’ve never tried them, and have no intention of trying them. I’ve seen too much. Haha Alright…..here you have it. The small green doughnuts are for the weenie calves. The handle bar and rubber band are what we call the “California bander”. That’s for the bigger calves like the one I showed you. A very handy tool indeed. We also call this an “attitude adjustment”. The bull calves are always cocky before banding, but after banding they become fat and lazy. Clyde has a delicacy in his mouth. The dogs love when we “work calves”. They get treats all day long. Dairy cattle aren’t allowed to keep their horns. It’s way to dangerous. They love to “fight” with each other and butt heads. They’ll injure themselves…….or they’ll hurt us humans. When we walk into a calf pen, they always go for the rear-end. They love to butt and push us around. All I need is a set of horns up the rear. NOT! It hurts bad enough without the horns. It’s totally maddening. Hey, wait a second. I didn’t know we were working humans. You had better get out of there before Earl sees you. He might come after you with a needle and syringe. Or worse yet….the “California bander”. Ouch! This was our lunch……oreo’s and spicy pretzels. The Dr. Pepper is gone. And we are all tired, cranky, and hungry for some real food. Besides that, it’s time to do the evening milking. Another 3-4 hours of work before we can call it a day. Where are my children? Another hallucination. Oh for a piece of homemade pizza. I’m tired and grouchy after a full day of cows and calves and cow poop. My day dreaming comes to an abrupt halt. Fill up that syringe….hand me a cold one….where’s the bander….?!
Well, that’s all I’ve got for you this time. Thank goodness that is finally done. Now, we can concentrate on more pleasant things to do. Like milking cows, feeding calves, and scraping poopy cow lots. The fun never ends…………………………..Carol
P.S. Where are my children?