From Pipi’s Pasture: A calf named Wind
This is a Thanksgiving story of sorts, a really incredible story about a six-month-old, whitish-gray-brown Simmental cross heifer calf. We don’t usually name calves, but as a baby this little calf loved to run, and as she’d run past me I was reminded of the wind. Thus, the name.
The story begins on Oct. 15 when we rounded up the cattle off summer pasture and trailed them down the county road to my brother Duane’s corrals to load them up for a ride back to Pipi’s Pasture.
We counted the cattle. The count came out right. I spotted Wind with the others. We loaded two trailers with paired-up cows and calves, and our grandson Kenny and husband Lyle headed for home. The trip wasn’t without challenges. I was a way behind the trailers so I missed the excitement.
Lyle was nearing Hamilton when a kind driver started honking and waving. Lyle pulled over. His trailer door had come open and cows were standing there looking out. Lyle thanked the driver, thought about how lucky he was, shut and secured the door, and went on his way. A little way from home he blew a trailer tire. What a trip home!
But before long the cattle were unloaded in Pipi’s Pasture. We had lunch, and Kenny and Lyle went back for more cows.
About 4 p.m. that afternoon Wind’s mama started to bawl. She walked the pasture looking for her calf and bawling. After awhile, I went into the pasture and helped her search. No calf. She bawled all night.
The next morning we loaded up the cow and four-wheelers and went back up to summer pasture. Kenny, two of his friends, my brother Duane, Lyle, and I hunted everywhere for the calf. We checked with the neighbors. Nobody had seen nor heard Wind.
We took the mama back to Duane’s corral and left her there, just in case the calf was somewhere around. A week passed. We went back to Duane’s house to help him work cattle. There had been no sign of Wind so we brought the mama home.
All this time I felt a little crazy. I just knew I had seen her in the corral on gathering day.
Then the week before last, Moffat County Brand Inspector Brad Ocker called. He said that he thought I could help solve a mystery. He had found a grayish heifer calf with a yellow tag, number 70, and no brand.
We know that it is not a good idea to turn out a calf without a brand, but she wasn’t very old and really didn’t have room on her side for a brand. I thought she would be OK.
Anyway, since Brad couldn’t find a brand, even after shaving some of her hair, he had only the tag to go on. Finally he remembered that we use an especially small yellow tag.
The calf ended up on Jim Redman’s ranch, south of Hamilton on Road 45. That’s a long way from our summer pasture area — miles. Poor Mr. Redman! He wracked his brain trying to figure out who owned the calf. He finally called Brad Ocker for help.
So the next day Lyle and I went to the Redman ranch to pick her up. When I saw her I knew that I wasn’t crazy. She had been in the corral that day. So then we pieced things together. The trailer door must have come open about nine miles down the county road from our summer pasture, right next to the area that Redman’s cattle graze. She just took up with them, and when Jim Redman gathered…
We brought Wind home and turned her out in the corral. She bawled once, her mother came running off the feedlot, we put her in with her calf, and Lyle described it best: “It was like love at first sight.”
I am so grateful to a good neighbor, Jim Redman, and to Brad Ocker! And I have learned three things: always check to make sure the trailer door is secure, to brand cattle before turning them out, and to write our brand on the back of each ear tag.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!
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