April 24, 2019



We have cows. We have some good cows. We have some bad cows. Everyone that has cows has some good cows and some bad cows. Everyone wishes they had all good cows. Many ranchers strive to improve their herds to have not only all good cows, but all great cows.
Our red roan cow is not a good cow. She is not even a bad cow. She is a terrible cow. She has a bad bag. She is wild. She always has a roan calf that the buyers cut back because it is small, narrow, and off color.
So you wonder, why would you keep an awful cow for 12 years? It’s Evan’s fault.
Evan is one of our grandsons. The roan cow was born up at Jim Creek years ago, when Evan was small. A neighbor’s roan bull must have sired her; of what breed I do not know. But it had to be a poor bull.
Amy was helping us brand that spring. Evan had spotted that red roan calf as we were trailing them in. Like most small kids, he was attracted to the odd colored calf in the herd. It stood out so he claimed it. Amy offered to trade him “all the candy in the world” for that calf. He declined. That’s why we still have the roan cow.
Last week the roan cow had a calf. A narrow little blue roan calf. With a white tail. Really bad. And he hadn’t nursed. The roan cows teats were too big.
I’m a cowboy. I do cowboy stuff. But a cow I was grafting a calf onto occupied my calving pen and chute. So I went modern. Instead of saddling up, I grabbed the dart gun, some tranquilizer darts, and jumped on the four-wheeler. Piece of cake.
The first dart didn’t take. I doubled the dose and reloaded. She was traveling pretty fast and the calf played out, but I got the second dart in her. It helped a little. Not enough. I reloaded and doubled the dose again. She had slowed some and I made a nice shot.  
I went back to get the calf as the medicine began its magic. By the time I got back she was pretty slow, but upright. I, being smarter than a cow, roped a hind foot and tied her to the four-wheeler. I tightened the rope and she went down. Easy peasy.
As she lay there, eyes half shut, and one hind foot stretched out, I stepped up, grabbed a huge teat, and squeezed. Did I mention that I had the bottom foot pulled back? I did. The top foot was free. That hateful, awful cow kicked me in the knee harder than any human has ever been kicked.
I screamed in pain and fell back on the ground. I moaned and groaned and cried for I think about half a lifetime. There was no one to watch so it didn’t do a bit of good. When the tears dried up, I looked down expecting to see the jagged end of bones sticking through my Wranglers. Nothing. No bones. No blood. It had to be a mess under my wranglers.
I got the calf nursing the cow that had fallen asleep despite my screaming. So I took the rope off and left the pair in peace.
When I came limping into the house, Shirley noticed my pain. It would be hard not to. I was screaming with each step. I slid my Wranglers down to show her the horrendous wound. Not a blemish. Not one mark. That damn cow couldn’t even do that right.
Now, a week later, the knee still hurts. I still limp. I think I have bone chips, or a torn meniscus, or something really bad. It’s an internal injury. Hard to see, but it is slowing me down a lot. I can only sit for a short time or it gets really bad.   
Ruins pinochle or golf. Next year we are selling the cow.