As if I didn’t have one hundred and three other things to accomplish today, My Farmer convinced me to hop in the pick-up this morning to go help my dad work calves.
Working calves is the farm term for what we would call a scheduled physical with the family doctor. The vet comes to the farm, gives each animal a once over, a booster shot for their respiratory vaccines (essentially like our flu shot) and signs off that they are ready for the sale barn.
I donned my carhartts, the same coveralls I’ve worn since I was 14. The crisp sunny morning immediately nipped my nose and the cold filled my lungs. Déjà vu.
Once at the cattle barn, I expected my Grandpa Ray to come plodding from the house across the road and my Grandma June to call out from the front door, “Come in when you’re done!”
Growing up, working calves was a pro-duc-tion and we needed Grandma’s nursing skills to heal us from the ordeal.
We didn’t have a chute, so with lots of panels and gates, my dad, grandpa, brother and I would slowly work each calf up against the barn wall and then pin them there while the vet worked. Does that even sound like a good idea? It wasn’t. I had the bruises, pinched fingers and squished toes to prove it.
Half the day would be gone before we’d finish, and we usually finished in complete frustration with each other and the calves instead of congratulations for a good job done.
My how times have changed.
When my grandfather passed away my dad quickly realized he needed to learn how to do things on his own and spent a lot of time inventing ways to make farm work easier for one man to accomplish. One of his big projects was the chute and gate system he built inside the old barn.
Through a series of swinging gates, my dad and My Farmer quietly walked one small group of calves after another up to the long chute. Without too much issue, each calf walked calmly through allowing the vets to do their check and administer their shots without so much as a jump from the animal. Then the calf ambled out of the chute and back to the lot to join the others. We were done in 45 minutes and on with the rest of our day.
Time changes things. We learn how to do better, to be more efficient and pay attention to details that weren’t important 20 or 30 years ago. We are learning that the process from years ago doesn’t necessarily fit the bill today. Time has allowed us to farm and ranch better.
And tomorrow will be better than today.
Read more 30 Day blogs starting with My Generation. And follow more of my 30 Days of the Not So Glamorous Life of this Farm Wife:
- Day 1: Hunger Games. Hungry Planet.
- Day 2: Chili, Children, & Checkers
- Day 3: My Very Fairy Farm Princess
- Day 4: Sunday School Lesson
- Day 5: Wackie Day. Wackie Cake.
- Day 6: Tricked Out Tractor
- Day 7: God Bless Teachers
- Day 8: Just Breathe
- Day 9: Meet My Farm Boy
- Day 10: Date Night
- Day 11: America the Beautiful
- Day 12: What Farm Wives Discuss When Farmers Aren’t Around