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Monday, April 20, 2009

Foxsun saves the day.

Sunday Brad spent several hours fixing fence so we could turn the cows out up by the circle. That would give Foxsun and the cows a total of 160 acres of pasture. We move them around to different pastures throughout the year. Once he was done we drove the pick-up to open the gate. That was when we stumbled across our adventure for the day.

We saw a heifer sitting down in the sagebrush surrounded by about 5 calves. She didn't look like she was baby sitting, so we walked over to see what was up.

Here's the sight that greeted us. The red thing is her tail. Look carefully at the foreground of the picture.


Twins! They hadn't gotten up yet either. Brad went to see if the mother could get up and she sprung to her feet. Sometimes cows can't get up after giving birth and you have to help them on to their feet. We decided to leave them alone for awhile and let the cows and Foxsun out.

We walked them out quietly so the new mother wouldn't get all excited and try to follow.

Brad and Foxsun lead them.


More cows join the parade.


Foxsun takes over after awhile and leads them through the gate.


On the way home we notice the new mother has walked off with the tiny red calf leaving the big white one, who hadn't gotten up yet, behind. I thought, 'not this again'. Brad went after the pair and managed to get the tiny calf to follow him away from her mother and back to her twin brother. Mother followed.

We had to get them in and worked out a plan; Brad would put the big bull calf in the back of the pick up and I would drive him back to the corrals and he'd get the tiny heifer calf to follow him to lure the cow in.

The plan fell apart a bit. As I was driving the bull calf decided it was his moment to do or die and he start to get up. I tapped the brakes to try to keep him off balance but to no avail. It was his moment of glory and he wasn't going to miss it. I stopped the pick up, raced around (hobbled) to the back and stood on the back bumper trying to keep him from falling over the side of the pick up. He was a tall calf. He was strong and a bit slippery. I couldn't get in the back with him because the position I was in meant pivoting on my replaced ankle. I yelled my head off for Brad but he was too far away. The calf kept wanting to go backwards and his back end was going over the side. I lunged in and grabbed his far back foot twisted it up throwing him down on a tarp in the bed. Once I had my hands free I could untwist my fake ankle and leap (fall) on top of the calf to hold him down.

Meanwhile Brad had the tiny red calf following him but the mother had vanished. Also my shouts had the mustangs going crazy. Well lets say Wildairo trotted about high headed for a moment and Echo seized the opportunity to have another melt down. He was racing around and letting out huge loud snorts that echoed down the draw.

We got the calves into a pen and I fed the mustangs some really good alfalfa, pea and oat hay to distract them. Wildairo was cool with it but Echo was beyond being distracted.

This is where it turns weird.

Brad thought the new mother had gone after the herd into the bigger pasture and decided to go look for her. I was left behind to wrangle the twins who had become very energetic. Here they are sucking my knee caps.


The heifer calf had already had some colostrum from her mother so she lay down and fell asleep after awhile, but the bull calf wouldn't give up. This is when I noticed Echo has a very strange look on his face.


I know his moods pretty well and this wasn't one I'd seen before. He wouldn't get his eyes off the bull calf who was sucking my pants very loudly and butting to try to get my knee caps to let down milk. Suddenly Echo attacked.


He was trying to get the calf through the fence. I was taking pictures with my cell phone but stopped here for awhile because I had to get the calf out of there. I took him around the corner but Echo raced around to the other fence and charged again. Because it was the corner with the truck panels I know the calf was safe, so I studied what Echo was doing. He was shaking all over. His head was shaking and he was angry! He kept trying to get the calf through the fence yet he wasn't striking out at him. Echo has always loved Bobby and the cats that come to visit him. I waited till he went to look at his hay and I shut him in the corral.

Brad called me and said he was going to try to bring the whole herd back because he couldn't find the new mother. I thought in that case I would move the calves to a tiny little grassy pen for their own safety. The bull calf followed me down the alley, he weighs about a 100 pounds. Echo didn't attack again and we went right along his fence. The heifer calf didn't want to get up from her nap so I carried her. I kept thinking about what my ankle surgeon told me, "You can only do light house work, try not to walk on uneven ground and never lift any thing heavy".

I called Brad to get an update and he said he was chasing the cows on Foxsun and couldn't speak. I was puzzled because Foxsun has no tack out there in the pasture.

Later Brad called and said he had to bail off Foxsun (what?) but they got the cows headed for home. I opened the corral gates and threw piles of hay about as cow bait.

Here come the herd looking very upset and tired. Dandylyons showed up last panting and very hot. They came right into the corral as if looking for me to save them. Brad called again and said he was on his way in with Foxsun.


This is what happened. The cows headed for the bluff when Brad tried to bring them home. So Brad jumped on Foxsun to race to turn them. He said Foxsun was doing that bumpy thing (trotting) and then started to run (canter) which was a lot smoother (lol). Brad used his cow chasing stick to steer his head (OMG)! Everything was fine till Fox realized he's misplaced his old cow wife. (She high tails it when he's being ridden). So Foxsun took off to look for her and Brad, who at that point was just along for the ride (so to speak), was hanging on to his mane as Foxsun raced through the sagebrush. That's when Brad picked his spot to bail. He land on his shoulder but his hand hit a rock and got cut pretty bad.

Brad found some old baling twin and made a bridle for the ever loyal Foxsun and rode him home.


All the cows were in except for the new mother and someones calf had slipped through the fence. Brad and Foxsun rounded up the stray calf while I kept the crazed cow from charging back through the gate. I felt like I was guarding Kobe Bryant. With everybody in lock down Brad led Fox home with his twine bridle to get some real tack on him. Poor old boy was sweating and looking really beat, Foxsun wasn't doing much better. I noticed Brad's bridle's nose band was really tight. Fox has been ridden with the same curb bit and a curb chain or strap for 20 years and he's never been ridden bare back.

Then Brad and Fox headed out to look for the new mother.


I walked around too looking for her. Just as it got dark Brad found her hiding in some tall sagebrush and they brought her in. We reunited her with her twins and left them sucking in the small pen. I fed Fox some sweet grain and released him with the cows.

This morning finds mother and children doing fine. We're on pain killers.


Linda said...

What a day! So many uses for twine--I LOVE it!! Sounds like you live on the FUNNY Farm, girl!

nikki said...

What an adventure!!! Great story and photos.

Glad the mother and babies are doing well.

Wonder what was up with Echo? Maybe he was trying to protect you?

Kara said...

Wow, what a wonderful story! So many aspects and animal characters. Have you ever considered writing children's book about your adventures on the farm?

Cheryl Ann said...

I LOVE your last line! Hehehehehe! Oh, my! WHAT a day!

arlene said...

When I re-read what I wrote we appear to be a couple of loonies and should probably be on a real funny farm, lol. I hope our cattle ranching neighbors never read about the stuff we get up to.

I really hope that Echo was trying to protect me. It's so weird how he acted towards that calf. He's a very funny boy all round.

No I never thought about writing a book about our 'going's on' but maybe I should because I do have a very different outlook on farm animals than most people. It's a little odd to say the least. Maybe I should get out more and mingle with my own species. lol.

Brad had some huge bruises from Foxsun's withers. Foxsun used to be so fat and round but now his withers sick up. (Funny thing is we're fat and round now)! Thank God for narcotic pain pills!