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      Alrighty….today starts a brand new week. Thank goodness! Last week was not for the faint of heart….it was “calf working” week. Now, let me warn you all. This post is not politically correct…nor is it ladylike…maybe even a bit offensive. So, I’m giving you fair warning to skip this story and move on to something beautiful if you can’t take the “heat”. Otherwise….to all you daredevils….come with me and let’s get some dirty work done.      102.jpg      Here’s a group of calves that we worked last year. Don’t they look nice?! No horns….no nuts…although you can’t see that part. That’s what working calves is all about. Vaccinations, taking off the wicked horns, and adjusting that cocky attitude.     083.jpg      First things first. Here we have Earl demonstrating to the boys how to apply vaccine. Every calf needs to be vaccinated at birth and then again before they’re a year old. Sorta like our human babies. Always taking them for vaccinations and boosters…..calves are the same way. These shots had to go in the neck area underneath the skin. It takes lots of practice…..and speed. Calves like to jerk around a lot.    094.jpg       This is Marshall doing a practice round. They need to learn sometime. Besides, they want to do it….to them it’s still exciting and great fun. Me? I’ve been doing this for nearly 25 years and I’m tired…….need I say any more?    093.jpg     This is me. I have now graduated to filling syringes, keeping everyone hydrated and handing them all the necessary tools. I used to do a whole lot more but thank goodness for boys. I get the easy job.    085.jpg     So after they get their shots we have to worm them. Gotta get rid of all those nasty parasites. A person can always tell if a cow is fed well and taken care of just by looking at their hide. If it’s slick and shiny then you know she’s healthy. That’s what wormer helps do……kills the nasty bugs and makes their hide beautiful. Marshall is getting a little carried away here. It’s a gun, but not that way. Squirt it onto the back of the calf, son!       092.jpg     Yep, that’s right. We got some big ole’ calf nuts here. Michael was the professional bander. There are several different ways to take care of the bulls. We prefer the banding….no cutting, no blood. These should have been done during spring break, but time has a way of getting away from a dairyman. Everything always needs to be done right now! So, we had some pretty good sized “nuts” to band. The commentary can be pretty entertaining when working cattle. I’ve become pretty calloused you might say.     089.jpg         Next on the list is dehorning. Both heifers and bulls will have horns. Unless they’re “polled”…..that’s always a good day. Polled means that they were born without horns. All angus calves are polled, so all of our black calves were horn free. Ahhhhh…..we love polled calves. Less stress! Otherwise, they need to go. Cows like to use their heads as weapons. They’re like a huge rock swinging to and fro. Imagine if they had sharp horns yet too. Their heads hurt, not to mention the back leg. I’ve felt both. I definitely don’t want to feel a sharp horn in my side. Besides, they have “cow fights” out in the pasture and we don’t want to deal with any more drama than is necessary. FYI…the dogs love to eat the horns…..it’s a delicacy to them.       088.jpg         Michael being the “jokester”. Gotta watch out for those wicked horns…..they pop up at the weirdest places. Earl was the dehorner. I had to spray disinfectant/sealer and apply cotton (bandaid) if necessary. So, I did do a little dirty work afterall.      087.jpg    We worked calves for two days. Remember all those calves I raised in the hutches last winter? Well, now they’re big boys and girls. The wicked horns are gone…no pesky parasites…and the boys are “nut free”. You’d be amazed how that affects their attitude! So, there you have it….down and dirty. Does anyone care for some “calf fries”? That’s what you call the “nuts” when they’re fried up and ready for human consumption………Carol