Friday, August 24, 2012

empty nest syndrome on the farm

mommas and babies

soggy cow pens

my muddy corner

the babies are as big as the mommas

so many of this years graduating seniors have chosen to go out of town to school.  i am extremely glad my girl decided to stay close.  and at the same time,  i am both proud and happy for those who chose to spread their wings and explore this world of ours. that first night away is so hard i am sure.  that whole empty nest thing has to be a lot to handle.  i have not experienced it myself but i do go through it with all the girls on the farm.   it is a time of year that i really don't look forward to.  time to wean and sell some calves.  it is good financially but it hurts my heart.  this means we have to take the babies away from their mommas.  it is part of the whole plan and it is what we do.  we raise cows, we raise beef cows to eat.  and yes i love me some beef.  steak is my all time favorite food.  but that doesn't mean i have to like the process.  i do admit that i am so happy that our babies get to stay so long with their mommas.  by the time they leave it is sometimes hard to tell the mommas from the babies.   this time we won't wean every calf.  only the biggest ones that we need to sell.  i actually like it better when we get them all.  when we leave some of the calves, i can just hear some of the cows talking and betsy probably says to flossie "now why in the world did they take my big, beautiful, calf and leave her little scrawny nasty butt calf"....   i am just kidding.  our cows would never talk like that.  we have strict rules around our farm and the cows have to form a certain sisterhood amongst themselves.  we let them handle their own problems and spats and they usually do a good job.  it really amazes me how these cows form families within the herd.  i know they do this  because we tag our replacement heifers  when they are really young and they have a number on their tag.  i see as they grow up that the cows with similar numbers stay together and when we work them through the chute the numbers are always close.  i have seen this over many, many years of working them through the chute.  i have seen them care for each other when one is sick, i have seen them nanny and babysit each others calves, and pug told me once he saw a group of cows push and nudge another very weak and sick cow to the water trough to keep her from dying.  they are smarter than we think and more sensitive than we can imagine.    i am quite certain the conversation goes a little more like this... "thank you Jesus, they finally came and got that humongous calf.  i have been nursing that now 600 pound baby for over a year.  my udders need a break and i need some me - time. (maybe they call it moo-time :)  i am trying to forget the fact that i already have another one on the way.  i hardly even remember the honeymoon much less the wedding.   a girl has got to have some fun  before it is time to birth another fun sucker, girlfriend, you know what i am saying!"  yeah, i think that is more like it.  we gathered some calves yesterday and got a huge bunch today.  the mommas and babies will be bellowing and crying all night long.  it is sad to hear and even from my house i can hear them in the cow pen.  these cows have a job, it is to momma the best calves possible.    they are good at it or they would not still be here.  my heart aches for them because they do have feelings.  they are God's creatures and He gave them an extroidinary maternal instinct.  i can relate to these mommas and i do feel their pain.  they will fight for their babies the best way they know how.  i admire that in them.  they are lucky to get to keep their babies for such a long time  and i feel like they are lucky to live here.  we do take pride in our farm and in how we run it.  i like to think we have happy cows because we sure don't want to hear the words... (this is where i whisper...)  mad cow.   oh Lord have mercy on us all... we call them angry cows... big difference!!!   we had a few angry cows today.  one put me on the fence a few times and with soggy mud i don't move as fast, my cat like ability is completely gone because my boots are stuck on the mud.  the cow pens were so muddy the guys usually move the cows around on foot but they had to stay on the horses. i also saw the guys on the fence today, i won't mention any names but we all did "fence-time" today.  it happens, especially when we are messing with the babies.  our poor mickey took an unplanned swim.  he was pushing cows through a water filled ditch.  after the cows made it through he proceeded to walk his horse into the water.  at the same time a baby gator decided to emerge from the deep and it swam through the front legs of his horse.  she swatted at the gator with her front leg and dumped mickey in the process.  he did go under, the only thing still dry was his right shoulder.  luckily he was okay.  it is scary to see this happen from a distance and not know what is going on.  i am still not okay with the fact that the crew thinks these kind of things are funny... they all agree it is funny as long as it happens to someone other than them... but then thankfully they add, it is only funny when we find out no one is hurt.  they do have hearts.  they just keep them very well hidden.  the next couple of nights will be sad.

it is heart breaking but doesn't last long, the mommas can then concentrate on the baby in their tummy.

i so wish i could talk to them

mommas saying their goodbyes
 we will hear the cows calling for their babies that are spreading their wings, exploring this world of ours as they head to their "job".   they are all born to do this specific job.  they are lucky to be born on this farm because they do have it pretty good here.  the best part is when a momma has a really good heifer calf, the heifer gets to stay here forever and become a Whitehurst Cattle Co. cow,  make beautiful calves and live happily ever after.  i wish i was a cow whisperer and could talk to them and let them know i empathize with them.  i think they know i am a momma.  i think they know i care.  i really hope they do.

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