I think I earned my cowboy spurs this week.
Monday started innocently enough when we looked out the window after breakfast and saw that there was a new baby calf! The older kids were home because of Spring Break so we all booted up and went outside to get a closer look. It looked like the event had occurred very recently as the calf was still wet and struggling to stand. Our 1-year-old jersey calf Patches was super interested in this new "friend", which seemed really sweet at first glance. But I quickly realized he had more on his mind than befriending this new little calf...
If you remember, I used to bottle-feed Patches twice a day when we first got him last spring. Then I worked with him many times to wean him off of said bottle. So the two of us have a bit of a history and I have an overall affinity for the little guy. But after watching him mount this newest addition repeatedly and noticing that the calf would collapse under his weight - and wasn't getting a chance to be cleaned off or try to nurse from Mama Cocoa - I was starting to get annoyed.
With Erik's parents in Saskatchewan and Erik tied up at work, I felt a strong sense of responsibility to "save" baby Bambi (named by the kids, of course) from her perverse predator. So enter me, my rubber boots and my pregnant belly (with 3 other kids shadowing closely behind).
And this challenging terrain to maneuver through...
The challenge was this: luring Patches away without getting too close to Mama Cocoa - who would no doubt feel threatened by my presence (let alone my 3 tag-alongs) and do who-knows-what to protect her new baby. And I needed to lure Patches a long way to the barn where I could lock him up in a pen. We had just run out of grain - which seemed like it would be the perfect bait for him - so I first tried shaking some rocks in a bucket. Patches seemed only slightly curious and the only thing it served to do was attract the other cows to see what I had for them. Not successful.
After a bit of brainstorming, I decided to try again. This time I grabbed some fresh hay from the barn and put a bit of dog food in the bottom of my bucket (it seemed more realistic than the rocks I guess). Then I searched for a rope and made a lasso - at this point I must've been tapping into my inner farmer... or perhaps my inner Wonder-Pet... (you could hear the kids and I singing, "to help the baby calf and save the day!").
After watching Patches repeatedly "offend" the baby calf and Cocoa idly standing by, I was more determined than ever that my plan needed to work. This time I got as close as I dared and did my best job of making the hay and pail of dog food look appealing to the occupied Patches. Lucky for me he took the bait and I had my lasso ready to get around his neck and cinch tight. And another lucky thing was that we were close to a fence post where I could quickly tie him up - out of reach of baby Bambi.
It was a bit of an adrenaline rush, I'm telling you. And I felt a deep sense of satisfaction when I watched him struggle against my amateur rope-tying job while Cocoa was finally able to tend to her new baby.
But of course the drama wasn't over. I won't get into too many details, but basically Patches got out of his rope eventually and made a bee-line for Bambi where he proceeded to violate her repeatedly for the next few hours. I watched and waited for an opportune time and managed to get him roped up again - this time was trickier as he was in the middle of the field with no fence posts nearby to attach him to. So envision me smacking his rump, pulling him by the horns, and just plain tugging with all my might. After some sweat and some patience I finally got him tied back up. And there he stayed until Erik got home a few hours later.
Now Patches the Offender is where he belongs.
And Mama Cocoa and Baby Bambi (who we suspect is a female) got in their all-important bonding time.
So, I don't know about you, but I pretty much think I just single-handedly earned some sort of 4H badge or something...
At the very least I think I deserve a cute pair of cowboy boots.