May 18, 2011



If it doesn’t work this time, I am going to slit my wrist! I’m talking about this computer. You spend hours and hours working on an article, bump the wrong button, and it disappears - never to be seen again. I think. Anyway, I had an outstanding article written, was just finishing up, and ... gone. Just like the guy who was looking for his cows. When asked how he did, he replied, “I rode over the hill, and there they were, gone.”
It’s a lot like working on a prolapsed cow. Just when you think you have it completely restored in the proper place, the cow lets out a might strain, and kerplop. She forces two bushels of uterus out onto the dirty ground, or in your lap. If you’ve been feeding, choring, calving, doctoring, moving snow and mud all day, you hate a prolapse. A couple of ranchers in Slope County had a bad experience a few years ago. They had already had a long day when they came across this prolapsed cow. It was a mess. The cow was on the fight, and they had a struggle to get her to the barn. As they worked on the cow, she did everything she could to make their job difficult. She fought the chute. She laid down. When they nearly had her put together, she would bellow, strain, and with a might oomph, force everything out.
Finally, number one son left the chute and went out to the pickup. Just as Dad finally got the uterus pushed into place, and was up to his armpits in cow, BANG! Junior came back in with a rifle and shot the cow. The cow dropped in the chute, jerking Dad down with her and nearly dislocating his arm! Dad didn’t like it much better than the cow. It’s lucky there weren’t two guns on hand.
Another thing that tests relationships is tagging calves. Now tagging has became a necessary evil. It is required for performance records, animal ID, and various buyer demands. It also helps when pairing cows out to pasture, recalling a sick calf, or just general information. And, like treating a foot rot cow, it can test the idea of “till death do us part.”
 A young couple up at Killdeer was pretty religious about getting calves tagged. When one hit the ground, bang, they applied a tag. And tagging often requires you to dodge the wrath of a mad mama cow, who thinks you are the most dangerous thing since wolves and lions. Every year, many ranchers end up in the emergency ward with broken bones, abrasions, and numerous contusions.
This couple was also tech-savvy. Like most people they carried cell phones. You start to feel naked without one. As they were bouncing across the pasture on the four-wheeler, they came across this new mama with her baby. Now this is the best time to tag baby. Before he gets big enough to run away. Just as Mrs. Rancher grabbed the calf, Mr. Rancher’s phone rang. He answered his phone and hunkered down out of the wind alongside of the four-wheeler to take this important call. He had his back to the two mama’s, and all of a sudden, the cow got Mrs. Rancher down. She began screaming for her husband. Without looking up he hollered, “Dammit woman, I’m on the phone!”
That will test a relationship. Wait, I hear Shirley screaming from the heifer pen. I gotta go.