Wednesday, April 4, 2018

A Cowboy's Life

by Mindy Obenhaus

**WARNING**  This post may contain graphic scenes of nature taking its course

Yesterday I told you that last week was an eventful one here at the ranch. Well, today I'm going to share how we wrapped up our Easter week.

Saturday morning, hubby informed me that there was a cow lying along the drive and he was pretty sure she was in labor.

Really? A baby calf? Here?

My eyes got real big. I grabbed my good camera, the one with the really long lens and headed outside.

Yep, there’s a cow lying down all right.
Is she alive?
Yep, she’s alive. And she just spotted me.
So, I did what most curious women would do. I hid behind a tree. It was then I began to wonder if she really was in labor. I peeked around the tree to grab another pic.
DEFINITELY in labor. I mean, why else would she have hooves protruding from her rear end.

Sensing something wasn’t right, my husband called Cowboy Smokey who owns the cow. They fear she may be in distress and that’s not good for her or the calf. But what could he possibly do? These cows aren’t tame. They don’t have a barn. They roam the land freely. Well, at least within the confines of the fence lines.

Cue the Cavalry.
Cowboy Smokey has to catch the cow.

He gets his rope going.
But the cow gets away.
He got her the next time.
Though that doesn’t stop her from trying to get away.
He slowly reels her in, but he needs a second rope.

Cue Cowboy Phil.
Mama is not happy.
Cowboy Phil gets his rope turning.

Got her!
By now, Mama’s getting tired.
I don’t know about you, but at this point, I’m thinking how ornery I would have been if anyone had messed with me like that when I was in labor. Unfortunately, leaving her to her own devices meant the very real possibility of losing both mama and baby.

They bring the trailer in and check on mama.
Cowboy Smokey believes the baby’s dead. They’ll load mama onto the trailer, take her back to the barn at his house and pull the baby there.
But wait! Cowboy Phil saw the calf move.
They’d still have to help that baby out, but they’d have to do it here.
They get him out, but the calf isn’t moving. Cowboy Smokey rubs on him. Clears the stuff from his mouth.
Then Cowboy Smokey walks away.
I hang my head. The calf didn’t make it.

I move closer then, all the while telling myself that cowboys deal with this sort of stuff all the time. It’s simply a part of nature.

Then I saw the little bull calf lift his head.
He was alive!
And he even has a new friend.
His mama survived, too. She’s an ornery thing, though, and has rejected her baby. I don’t get it, but apparently it’s not uncommon. So he’ll be bottle fed or paired with a nurse cow. Still, nothing compares to a mother’s love. Someone to show you where the best grass grows, how to evade those cowboys and jump the cattleguards.

Oh, and don’t think I’m not tempted to keep this little guy for myself. I just don’t think the dogs would like it too much. Then again, they could help raise him. Maddie could teach him how to play ball and roll in the grass. And I’d never have to mow again. Though we’d likely have to live in our rubber boots and that’s just too darn hot in the summer.

Now it’s your turn. If this were going on in your front yard, would you be out there taking pictures, too? And don’t you think this little guy deserves a name? Any suggestions?   


  1. Nature taking its course! And yay for the survival of that little calf!

    (I doubt if he'll be a bull very long, though...)

    And that cow...I can just imagine what she'd do if a coyote came along while she was in labor. It would be a fight, for sure.

    Mindy, you certainly have an interesting front yard. And yes, I'd have my camera out, too!

    1. Jan, I truly never know what I might see. But I do love it and always have the camera ready to go.

  2. So, are you going to start writing Westerns now? lol What an adventure. Poor mama, I'd be ornery after all that too. Maybe she thought you were a Midwifery clinic and she was heading your way for help. lol If the dogs raised the calf you'd have to let him in the house -- I can just picture them all curled up on the dog bed watching you write. Wonder how long it would take to house train a calf?

    As to a name -- I'd call him Dilleachta (pronounced Dee-lak-ta) which is Irish for orphan. You could call him Dee for short.

    1. Kav, if you mean cowboy books, I have a couple in mind.

      House train a calf, huh? Now that would be interesting. I hate to think if he tried to scratch at the door to go out. He might break the glass.

      That cow was something else. Smokey says she's always been mean. A protective mama I can understand. But she's just plain mean.

      As for the name, great suggestion. And you taught us a little Irish, too. :)

  3. I am just in love with this! I had old pics of our milk cow giving birth and people thought I was crazy! But I love this stuff, the miracle of birth. CALL THE MIDWIFE!!!! Yee haw, Western style!!!!!

    1. Ruthy, that's exactly why I couldn't stay away. The miracle of birth, no matter what the species, is an amazing thing.