Today was an especially long day. After not sleeping too well last night, the morning went off with a bang. We all began to get up (usually one at a time), read our Bibles, then hopped up to get breakfast. While Josh and I fixed egg burritos, everyone else picked up out "cots" in the living room. After breakfast, Josh and I bundled up to face the freezing cold weather to feed cows. As we got to the feed truck (with some difficulty.. I am sure a lot of you know that being bundled up makes walking extremely difficult and that when the snow drifts are high.. well, you know what that adds up to). Any how, we got to the truck and tried opening the door. No such luck. The door was frozen shut. Josh soon had it figured out and we got it opened. I hopped in to start it. No such luck. The key would NOT turn.. I will skip this part of the story and jump ahead.. We are now driving our Excursion with hay bales piled on top (let's just say the feed truck broke). We got to the pasture and headed out to search for cows. As I had said in an earlier post, the cows like to head out by themselves to calve.. Rather frustrating when you have a large pasture to search and hills and valleys are the best "hide-and-go-seek" places. Any how, as we were driving along, I saw a cow heading in the general direction of the water tank. Turning the vehicle off the road and heading towards her, I saw a calf- but it didn't look too good. It seemed to be having trouble following it's mama and was walking with it's head down (usually meaning they are sick). We hurried over and sure enough the little baby, which was a few days old, was looking pretty awful. (Oxymoron there..). The cow decided that this vehicle was unfamiliar to her, so she took off running, the poor calf trailing behind as best it could. We let them go, deciding to catch them at a later time when they got to the place they were going (when a cow has it's mind set on going somewhere, a person can be hard put to changing her ideas). We headed back to the rest of the herd and fed them the hay from the top of the Excursion. Deciding to give the first cow some time to get to the herd, Josh and I headed back for another load of hay. With 4 bales fitting on top and 20 bales to feed, we had a long haul in front of us. We came back with the second load and fed the cows again. After looking around for another baby calf who had been having trouble nursing the day before, I glanced up and saw a cow standing on a hill a ways off. We headed up and sure enough if it wasn't that cow and her sick calf. I was still at a distance, seeing that the mama got ancy when we came close, so I couldn't really tell if the calf was sick, or just cold.
When they got in with the bunch, I walked around and got a closer view of the calf. Poor thing was definitely sick. She was shivering visibly and bleeding on her ear. I caught her really easily (which could also mean they aren't feeling good if they aren't somewhat skeptical of you) and put her in the back of the vehicle with Josh. We arrived at the house and soon had our little package bundled up in front of the fire place to warm up. She wasn't frozen, so we didn't need to use the tub. *whew*.
While I stayed and worked on this little heifer, Mom took Josh out to finish feeding. Pretty soon the little girl had warmed up enough and we were ready to take her back to her mama. Once again, I set her in the back with Josh and headed out, Mom with us this time. We got this heifer settled and she was finally nursing. While we waited for her to hopefully settle in, Josh and I commenced to breaking ice. I swung the ax while he had the not so fun job of pulling the heavy chunks out of the water. WHEW! Have you ever swung a heavy ax while dressed like a penguin??? I will tell you that it will give you the workout of your life. My arms felt like jello afterwards...
The little heifer was settling in and getting some milk down her throat when we got a phone call from Daddy. That other calf that was having trouble nursing on account of the mama not holding still, was out there somewhere and we hadn't seen him. We drove out to where Josh and Dad has last seen them (having tried to get the little thing to nurse the day before) and soon found mama... but no baby. Oh, great. The first dead calf of the season! Josh soon located it's little body in a patch of snow (thankfully, black cows do stand out in this weather!). As we drove up to see if it was dead, I saw it's ear twitch. We were out in seconds, grabbing it up, and putting it in the Excursion to take it back to the house. This poor little fellow was freezing cold.
We settled him in, just like the other calf. Once again, while I stayed to warm him up, Mom and Josh went to finish the task that had already taken us all day to accomplish. The little guy soon warmed up and was trying to explore the house when they took him back out. I ended up staying at the house this time to help with some things. Unfortunately, this little guy was still having a hard time convincing his mama that he needed to nurse. So, I ask for prayers the he will stay warm and mama will let him eat.
By the time Mom and Josh got back, it was close to supper time. So, this definitely felt like one of the longest days of my life... all spent out in the pasture! ;-)
Still, it was neat to spend the time out in God's beautiful nature, taking care of His miracles, and praising Him through it all.
In Christ's Service,