Thursday, March 14, 2013

Calving, etc.

Seth and Anna came home for spring break to have their wisdom teeth out. I like tending them again. It’s an old and familiar job – shuttling ice packs, reminding them to take their antibiotics, putting movies in the DVD and just hanging out with them. Homemade tapioca pudding (three batches) and baked sweet potatoes were hits. My favorite job, mothering, is easy to slip back into.

We haven't been any help to Mark, however. He is busy tending a herd that's "raining" calves. First thing in the morning he tags the new arrivals. He likes to get them when they’re just a day old. They’re easy to catch and Mom has calmed just a bit since delivery. Mark drives his 4-wheeler into the herd, parks it, and walks quietly to each calf. He steps over them, catching their head between his knees as they stand up. He puts in an ear tag to match the mother, gives them a vitamin mouth paste and a mineral shot. He records their color, sex, approximate weight, and gives a “score” to the mother’s udder. The first suckling means life or death, so a friendly udder is critical. By friendly, I mean the udder is high and easily accessible, with teats small enough to latch on to. 

Mark moves quickly to get the tagging done before the feed truck arrives. But you can’t compromise patient handling for speed. In order to keep the cows calm, Mark acts as if he’s got all day to get the job done.

We try to give our calves a great start - just like we did with our own three kids. Doing so eliminates most of the trouble young animals and young humans encounter as they grow to adulthood.

Following Seth and Anna’s dental procedure, our dentist helped each one to the car. Even though they were in a fog of anesthesia and pain, they both said “thank you” and gave him a hug. As I turned to leave, the good doctor put his hand on my shoulder and told me what a good job we had done raising our kids. Music to my ears!  

V7 gets the works

The day before they went under the knife

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