Saturday, May 9, 2009

two trips to tractor supply co.

Yes, I made two trips to a tractor store yesterday. If only it had been two trips to Anthropologie instead, but alas, there's not a cute-farm-girl market in the city of Bowling Green.

The first trip started with a phone call at 4:00pm.
Greg called with glee in his voice, stating that our brown cow was in labor. He could see a hoof and nose.

I rushed out of the office and headed to the farm, giving Scarlet a call so the kids could come witness the occassion. On the way there, I stopped at TSC (Tractor Supply Co.) for some rubber boots.

The last 3 weeks, we've had rain constantly, and not just a little. LOTS! Like every day. Which is not good for the farmhouse roof -- it has a tarp on it now. It's not good for barn construction. And, it's certainly not good for my William Rast jeans and Kenneth Cole sandals.

Remember my post a while back about those cute Hunter boots? Well, I just hadn't gotten around to getting them, and this was an emergency, so I had to stop at TSC for some boots. I went straight past the girly section. There were lots of hot pink and polka-dotted ones, but I was in for the cheap pair in brown or black. So, into the men's section I headed. Brown and black boots were a-plenty, but I had no idea what size to get, so I grabbed a 6 in the cheapest pair (I normally wear a 6.5-7 in women's), paid for them and went to the car to try them on. WAY too big, but a 5 would do as that's the smallest size they carried, so I did a quick exchange and headed out to the farm for the birthing experience.

By the time I got to the farm, Greg was kneeling on the ground and I could tell things weren't so good. (Now's the time to scroll down past the photo of the cow if you don't want to read a tragic story.)

G: "I had to pull the calf." (okay, 6 words I would never have expected to come from his mouth, but I was impressed.)

Me: "and...."

G: shaking head, "It didn't make it, but it's a good thing I had these sticky gloves. They're anti-grease, so I was able to get a good hold on it" (Now that's the Greg I know, always touting his Grainger supply of various gloves.)

At this point, I think my fingers were the fastest fingers in the East. I whipped out my phone and rapidly texted Scarlet, "Calf's dead. You might not want to come." I was too late, she was already there.

Knowing the sad story, the kids still wanted to see the momma-cow, so they walked out to the field and observed. I drug (or is it dragged?) the calf up (Greg had tied it with a rope), for them to see.

At this point I must insert that today was the absolute worst day for me to start my exercise plan. 3 miles + 1 hour of Pilates and I was sore dragging that 80-90lb calf, but I did it.

Of course there were lots of questions:
  • what's that slimey stuff all over her?
  • is it a boy or girl?
  • why's it's tongue sticking out?
  • why's it's eye open?
  • why is it wet?
You get the idea.

But at this point, we had a problem. Momma-cow wasn't getting up. Until today, I didn't realize they were supposed to get up and walk after giving birth, but they are or they can become paralyzed, and so we were in danger of losing another cow.

Greg called the vet and tried several techniques, but she would just get up, stumble and fall down. After an hour or so of that, the vet came with a shock-stick and had some mild success. What we needed was for her to stand up and stay standing for awhile so the circulation and nerves could repair.

So, it was back to TSC for me to purchase a shock-stick. I wish you could have seen Richard's face (the sales clerk who looks like he's been farming for 4 lifetimes), when I came in asking for that. Thankfully, he put it together for me, batteries and all.

We stayed at the farm, shocking momma-cow every 15 minutes or so until about 11:00pm, at which point I took off my boots and realized one was an inch taller than the other. Upon further examination, one was a 5 and the other was a 6. So, not only was I wearing ugly boots, they didn't even match. Major faux paux, don't you think? I mean, if you're going to wear mud-colored men's boots, they should be the same size at least.

Greg returned to the farm at 6:00 this morning to check on Momma-cow and received this text:
"She's okay....Billy is taking care of her."

Billy's the bull and he was mighty protective of her as she was getting shocked with the stick. So, even though he basically has 11 wives, he attends to them in their hour of need. heehee.

I can already tell this farm thing is going to be filled with ups and downs, if yesterday is any indication. I went from a state of excitement that the calf was being born, to a feeling of sadness at it's death, to a feeling of pride that my husband was able to step up and do something he's never done before or even seen done (pull the calf), to a feeling of relief that the mom was okay, to a feeling of fear that the mom might be paralyzed, and to a feeling of calm that this is just life on a farm and I better get used to it.

I'll leave you with a card I made for Greg's mom. It's a little more cheerful than the story I told.

Supplies: Patterned Paper (Studio Calico, October Afternoon), Buttons (vintage, Jenni Bowlin), Punch (Martha Stewart), Stickers (American Crafts, Making Memories)

I'll let Greg take care of the inside. Hopefully it will be never know if he's going to put his heart into it or wait until the last minute to write something.


Houston said...

I'm sorry you lost the calf. On the other hand I'm totally impressed that Greg was able to pull the calf and continue on monitoring Momma cow and so on, you guys are much more cut out for farm life than you thought. Love the card, the buttons are great. Hope Momma cow continues to improve.

Kelly said...

Sorry about the calf...but I'm so glad the mummy cow is ok.
Yay for Greg - I think I would have panicked.
And gorgeous card xxx

angie worthington said...

sorry about the calf experience, it just happens sometimes.... i can remember my dad bringing in newborn calves and putting them in front of the heater to get them warmed up...

what would we do w/out the wonderful grainger products?!...

Barb said...

Wow! What an adventure!
Sorry to hear the calf didn't make it.

Davinie Fiero said...

Well, there are just far too many emotions in this post for me to adequately comment, lol.
I would like to know where you drug or dragged or drugged the calf to. What do you do with them? I don't have any experience with that. We do have a friend who lost an elderly horse that was a dear friend, and he took a backhoe and dug a great big hole in his pasture and buried her. I don't imagine you'd do the same thing, even if you do love your new tractor.

Rachel said...

Sorry to hear about your calf but I do have a funny pulling "calf" story. DH and I dream of havign a ranch of our own some day and he went to school for animal science with a concentration in cattle production so he has quite a bit of experience. He is always saying giving examples of stuff I will have to do when we have our ranch, especially when I can't do something and ask him to do it. One day he needed me to help him pull off his boots...well they did not wanto come off and I was having issues so he makes the comment about having to do it when I pull calves. So he starts talking to me like the boot is a calf and then he decided to moo like the mama cow. I was laughing so hard it took a while to get the darn boot off and now he does it every time I have to help him with his boots and it's still just as funny.