FB Post…Wednesday, September 09, 2015, 9:00 AM
~~ A Censored Mourning Morning ~~
With Cowdog Hawk safely buried in the backyard by the red maple next to the clothes line, I took on yesterday as if there was not going to be a tomorrow. Rain was in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday…like 1-2″ of much needed rain, “Yeah! Oh hell no!” Too dark at 5 AM, but by 6 AM I was shimmying up the ladder with a hammer, nails, caulking and no fear to tap down a shingle and clean up a roof valley before the rain was to arrive. 7 AM roof done, stuff put away, Cowdog Ducchess loaded up, to the home place, hook up the trailer, put two buckets of range cubes on the Iron Steed, and off to the N to gather some bred ready to pop 1st calf heifers. The heifers were nowhere in sight, a few “come on girls”, some waiting, and through the timber from the furthest point to the NE came two, then a few more, then a few more, all strung out, but in about 15 minutes there were 26 with the last one being pretty far behind. Thought to myself, “Hum, bet she has already calved.” As the heifers got closer and across the humped up 5 foot culvert at the ditch I could tell that a little brownish spot was trailing along with the big girls. A calf walking with a pace and stride of being a week old and not less. The heifers got to the corral gate and were just loaded with face flies and a new oncoming brood of horn flies. I knew the flies would be bad by now since the last spraying and I had the Iron Steed spray rig all ready to go. I jingled the range cubes in a large arc in the larger corral pen of grass, went back to the gate, kept my mouth shut so I didn’t suck a pack of flies up as the heifers strolled through the gate and tossing my head and motioning my free hand to brush the flies from my face. Bastards. This pasture of gals have not been on the garlic concoction the past few weeks since I have been nursing Cowdog Hawk so the flies had a leg up on me and the young with calf bovine sisters. The little calf was indeed about a week old and she was as gentle as a couch poodle. Score one for the yearling bull that sired these little chiggers. She is a nice size of 65 pounds, built square and a flat back, shapely square hips, feminine and friendly as all get out. She walked with a stride of being special and important. Momma Dog Hawk would have looked at her with approval, “A new baby. How cute is she!” Ducchess and I did an “away to me” and eased the heifers on into the smaller pen, leaving the pair for last and putting them in the alley with one other soon to be mother. Then the fly killing commenced. Ducchess held the come by side, I had the away side, the Iron Steed had the middle and we worked with the wind to our drift advantage. Right to left, left to right and the occasional move it around to get the young range sisters to give me their other sides. A pass to the pair and the other soon to be young mother and Ducchess and I were done with the fly killing application. Off to home we went for Old Red the Flatbed and the trailer. Four loads later and at 10 AM crossing the home place autogate and here came a sprinkle of rain. It rushed over me, “We did it Ducchess. Home before the glorious rain.” While washing the semi-liquid grass out of the trailer there were a few rain drops pattering the roof. I felt a sense of sad accomplishment. Sniffling. Hawk would have loved the chore of the loading and hauling and the conversations to and from one place to the other. Loving, talkative eyes on the passenger side of Ole Red and a right shoulder slumped against the side of the seat. Yep, that would have been “us”. But that “us” was replaced with the upright sitting of Ms. Ducchess, looking straight ahead and giving me an occasional chatter to signal the fun she has in her work. Damn death. Damn future. Damn pain. Damn it all. The rain was not a rain. It sputtered out at about 100 drops, the sky lifted from light grey to a dingy grayish whiteness. I went in and grabbed the Fall 2014 calving folder, parked here in front of the ‘puter and began to peck, cipher doodles and notes, poke the information into the awaiting Excel spreadsheet and got all the last details of weaning weights and last year’s calving information into the Fall 2014 cow file. Then, found the cow file for the 1st calf heifers I just hauled home and printed it off for their calving data record sheet for Ole Red’s dash, put the calving book with the landscape spreadsheet data and noted the 1st calf that so graciously strolled home with her mom and her aunties…the other soon to be range sister mothers. Before you knew it, it was 2 PM. I went to check how things were going in the dry lot where I had put the soon to be mother range sisters. Across the fence, peering, scanning and I spy 2 new babies up and sucking, “WT!” Yep, two fresh out of the gestational chambers were two new baby bovines. A leg swing up over the fence, scouting more and I see a third and fourth range sister were doing the stroll. Thinking to myself,”Damn glad I got these girls home this morning.” I just did not want to face calving at the N place in the midst of all the brush and cedars and coyotes and stick tights and I wanted them home for the breeding season. Accomplishment in such a sad time in my life was not exactly joyous but I knew deep down that I’d be damn glad I got the task done when I did. After the stubborn pace of “poke me with a stick” doing cowdog chores, I went back to check on the new baby bovines and their mothers. Alas, here was a freshly out of the gestational chamber baby being rolled around and then ignored by the new mother who knew the rolling ball was hers yet she wanted “the other baby” too. “Really? Give me a break.” I picked up “the other baby”, hopped on the Iron Steed, drove to the W end of the lot, set the tike off, walked back and got its mother, strolled her to her tike and shut the gate, leaving the “I want that one” heifer with bewilderment and a “WT” all over her face and mind. “Tough. That one is yours. Deal with it,” I muttered. Walking back to the gate I was greeted by a moo and calling of, “Hey, my little one is back at the pasture.” Upon further review, “Yep, you are right. I’ll get the trailer, another range sister for your company and I will take you back to find your little one.” I had wondered at 10 AM if this were the case with this range sister mother. So, I loaded up the two gals, hauled them back N to the pasture, and let them out. Off the range sister mother went with a mission and the pace of a mission. Ducchess and I left. This morning in the fog, ’round 7 AM, at the N place in the corral was the uncalved pal range sister, across the way along the timber line was the supposed mother. Ducchess and I get closer and sure ’nuff there is a brown spot near the new mother and a second brown spot out in the hay field, “WT? Twins?” A little closer and here is one calf running circles and enjoying being reunited with mom and a second calf calling out. Yes, indeed the beautifully built 1st calf range sister has two little ones…A and B…two little girls, “Yep, two girls!” Keeping close tabs on each just like her grandmother did when she had her first calves her first year. This new mom is the spitting image of her grandmother. A 1/4 mile stroll later, the twins and their mom and the other range sister pal were in the corral to wait for my return to load them up and take them on back to the home place. Just another reminder that death comes, drops you to the lowest point in your life and slaps you around to remind you, “Life goes on. Deal with it.” Damn death, “I hate you.” I love Momma Dog Hawk. I miss her.