August 12, 2009



Member a few years ago? I told you about the medi-dart. It was a bow-and-arrow deal for giving cattle shots. I mean it was shades of the old west, with a long bow, an arrow filled with vaccine, and it was exciting. We gave shots to cattle that had foot rot. We gave shots to cattle that had pneumonia. We gave shots to cattle that had shipping fever. We gave shots to cattle that were sick two years ago. We gave shots to cattle that might get sick in the next two years. Shirley finally hid the bow.
This year, with all the moisture, we had a lot of foot rot. Now, for you city folk, foot rot is like athletes foot, only deeper. And it spreads fast. A little antibiotic and a little iodine will usually clear it up. The normal procedure is to just go out and rope the calf, or the cow, or the bull. And doctor it. But as I get older and fatter, this gets harder.
It is a well known fact, that a calf that can barely walk on three legs… It is well known when a fat guy tries to rope him, that calf can run faster than he could when he wasn’t lame. And as I get older, I see more washouts, holes, and mole hills than I used to.
So, I was searching for an answer. And I remembered the medi-dart. I called the company. They had a new deal. An improvement on the long bow. It was a crossbow. I was so excited I wet my pants. Which happens more often as I get older.
I ordered the crossbow and waited by the mailbox. Shirley went to town and got the medicine. One shot to knock them down. One shot to cure the foot rot.
The crossbow came and we jumped on the four-wheeler. Shirley, Jen, and I. Oh yeah, and Shadow and Ardly. Ardly is Shadow’s brother. It is short for Canardly. You canardly tell what breed he is. Three people, a bag full of medicine, a crossbow, two arrows, two dogs, a wire stretcher, wire, fencing plier, water jug, and two catch ropes. The four-wheeler was loaded.
I sat down in the pasture to assemble the bow. I didn’t need directions. They were the first thing I threw away. If those guys a thousand years ago could build a crossbow from nothing, I’m pretty sure I could build one out of pieces in a box. Wrong. But that’s not the story. The box also included a practice arrow and a target. I discarded that right away. We had cattle to doctor.
We drove out to the pasture, loaded the arrow, cocked the bow. Sat Shirley and the dogs up on the hill to watch the operation from afar. Kind of like someone to record the battle for posterity.
I decided I should drive and Jen should shoot. Cause it was rough and I didn’t trust her driving. We started by easing down to the herd. We could drive up to every calf. Every calf except the lame ones that we had been roping at for a week. They were a little shy.
So, what should we do? What could we do? We put the forty-mile an hour sneak on them. I would go through the herd wide open and scream at Jen to shoot the black calf. Trouble is they were all black. I told her to shoot them in the round steak. And she tried. She tried.
But, really, how many of you have ever tried to shoot an arrow filled with thirty ccs, off a four-wheeler going thirty miles an hour, across prairie dog towns, and mole hills? At a critter scared to death. With two dogs joining the chase and your wife screaming.
We got off six shots the first hour. One hit a cow in the ear. One hit a cow in the spine. One killed a duck that was flying by. And one gave a perfectly good cow an injection in the neck. And one kind of nicked Shirley. That didn’t go over real well.
But we are not done yet. We have ordered a load of cake to feed the cows so they slow down a little. And I am building a camouflage deal to fit over the four-wheeler. With leaves and trees and little cow decoys. The whole works.
So if you see something strange in a pasture near you, don’t worry, it’s not me. We’ll be invisible.