Over and over, I’m reading about the height margins of the Irish Dexter Cattle. And I find myself comparing our own. Out of curiousity – I had to go for a shot of our 2 Cows and our Herd Sire.
There are many issues to consider in this photo. Patty ( on the left ) is the Queen. She is the oldest – born in 2008. At the age of almost 5 years – she is due to drop her 3rd calf on April 23rd of this year. But she can be considered way over there on the high side of height in this breed.
Our Herd Sire in the center – Artist – is only 14 months old. It will be interesting to watch him continue to grow. We’re unable to tell whether, or not, he will add anymore height. But we’re hopeful. He’s always given us every reason to feel that way!
Patty’s 1st calf, Cora, stands on the right at the age of almost 3 years old. In fact – she’s due to drop her 2nd calf on the day before her 3rd birthday!
So many times, especially over the past year, I have heard this factual comment, “ Wanna see God laugh? Make a plan! “
This past year has been one that has taught us to make plans with decisions that leave the back door open. Anything can happen when you are involved with beings having brains of their own. When you have other brains in the mix – you never know what choices and decisions their own experiences may bring about, that show in their own actions and behaviors. And when they cannot communicate with voice and language – as Humans – we must depend on paying close attention – and meet somewhere in the middle.
One of the challenges I am having in this experience is communicating with my husband.
He was never there before – during all my years of experiences with animals before we met. Both of us are left-handed people. Considering the fact that I am a female and he is a male – Scientists would laugh when they imagine our relationship.
We are the Ying and the Yang for each other in most cases. But when it comes to working on projects together – That Right Brain vs Left Brain belch thrives worse than a fruit fly population in an Apricot Orchard never harvested!
My husband has spent many years as a Supervisor – at his day job. I am having to fight with getting him to understand and accept the fact that he was never given that promotion at home. We just do not play the “ TARZAN -vs- jane “ thing here at this house!
I adore Temple Grandin to no end! She has so much that we can all learn. But most of her teaching pertains to the realm of dealing with large herds of animals. When you are raising large herds – you just don’t have the time to focus on each and every single cow. School teachers get this.
There are advantages to interface I am able to give to our cattle, that help all of us get along on this small scale space. My husband has been reading all the books. And he wants to stay inside that box. I, the female Lefty, have always been one to respect animals as individuals.
Every cow is different. Just like every human is different. And I have always enjoyed the challenge of getting to know and build a personal relationship with any animal I come in contact with. But, of course – if I were dealing with a few hundred head of cattle – that would not be the case.
Been there. You know how that can drive anyone crazy, after you’ve experienced a 3 year old forcing you to stand out in a parking lot at a grocery store – calling all 30 odd imaginary friends by name – to get out of your Ford Pinto. No. The worst part comes while you’re staring at the baby doll she’s holding – wondering why it wasn’t enough.
Anyway – back to the cows.
There was always a special moment in my life that I use as an example for describing how I tune in to animals. It makes me wish my husband had been there when it happened. Okay – my husband was there. But – he’s my ex-husband today. I’m talking about the man I share my life with today!
Maybe I should have my ex-husband explain it to my husband? ( That thought feels as pleasant as the sounds of scratching on chalkboards. ) Umm… never gonna happen.
The ex and I made a trip to Wimberly, TX with his family – an annual tradition for the July 4th weekend each year. This particular year – there was a livestock show in Austin. His brother and girlfriend’s family were showing animals.
His brother’s girlfriend had a Brangus Heifer that had obvious issues with men. She kicked every male – including my ex – from the trailer to the shower stalls – until his girlfriend walked her to the grooming rack.
The ex-BIL was fighting the flu while grooming. ( I know. I know. Can’t fix stupid. Anyway… ) This Heifer just wasn’t into it this day. She didn’t want anybody messing with her. She went nuts every time the shears were turned on. And she was determined to dismantle the grooming rack.
It is illegal to give shots of Ace today for cattle shows. But, back then – she was given a half-dose of Ace. Never phased her. And the situation was becoming serious. And the problem went on for about an hour.
With all the noise going on inside that large Fitting area of the complex – I stepped up in front of the Heifer. I’d never been around her before. I just started talking and singing into her ear – very softly and quietly.
She melted within a couple minutes. He was able to turn on the shears. And she just stood there. But she started up again, when I quit. My ex-BIL hollered, “ Don’t stop! I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep doin’ it! “
He was able to finish with the shears. The girls were able to groom her tail, legs and hooves.
They wanted me to go with them to San Antonio. I laughed. I was a married woman with kids. They survived! She placed. She sold. They bought her back. Placed in Houston and sold her there!
Things are very different in the shows today. And I’m glad. Leverage makes things more fun!
I have to be able to speak to my husband when we’re working with the cattle. He knows aircraft – sooo much more than cows. I have a sense for knowing when you have to take that moment that you get. I try to cue him beforehand. I try to fore-warn him when he needs to make changes that can bring trouble if they’re not made.
The periods of time have come when yelling was all I could do. He would not listen. And that problem resulted in a really bad month for me, this past March. Bruises and injuries from multiple incidents that could have been avoided – had he just listened to me and followed my cues.
I’m now back in Physical Therapy. I have a deep scrape on one knee that just won’t heal. I’ve had one doctor attempt to send me for a Nerve Conduction Test on both arms and my right leg. An MRI is next on the list. ( If I get my way – my insurance company says I can skip the Nerve Conduction Text and go directly to the MRI. ) And I had a moment where I came totally unglued on him – inside the house.
I am not a lazy person. I am just a person with a really, really short body stature. When equipment, tools and a workplace are put in place where I can manage safely – I can get anything accomplished.
I have had people tell me, “ You shouldn’t be handling those cattle. You shouldn’t be doing this. “ Of course – they’re people that have not handled cattle. Honestly – that could not piss me off any more.
I’m supposed to give up my dream of raising cattle because I’ve been hurt so much? Here’s a wild truth about that thought.
We have over 3500 pounds of pure beast on our property right now. And not one ounce of it has harmed me.
Those cows have not harmed me. It was equipment that got me hurt. I asked for it to be moved to a safer place. I was told, “ Aw, it’ll be alright. Don’t worry about it. “
It wasn’t alright. Now I’m paying the price for it. And I’m taking half the blame – because I refused to stay inside the house and not put myself in danger to get the job done.
Both sides have made corrections. Equipment has been moved. Safety measures are now in place. An agreement has been made to trust my intuition with these animals, especially, since I spend more time with them than anyone else. And from now on – if it puts my safety in jeopardy… I’m not doing it. It can wait until he gets home. That’s all there is to it. And I should not be expected to yell around animals anymore. I can be expected to drop everything and walk inside the house. Have a glass of iced tea. Get on the computer. And… the Fairy Godmother can come get the job done, as far as I’m concerned.
Things are going a whole lot smoother, already.
Haven’t seen the Fairy Godmother.
In fact – we even managed to solve this problem. ‘ Master Killian ‘ began enjoying the folly of pissing me off by dumping his water trough, once it was filled to the brim. After his 3rd round…
All I can say now is… well… I’m happy.