From Pipi’s Pasture: An eventful Valentine’s Day
Most people spend Valentine’s Day celebrating at dinner or a movie, but when this year’s Valentine’s Day was over, Lyle and I were happy to sit down, put our feet up, and enjoy a little chocolate candy. It had been quite a day.
The morning started as usual, with corral chores at 7:30. The tractor started without hesitation (because it wasn’t a really cold morning), and we headed to the feedlot to put hay off the trailer. The big rectangular bale was frozen on one end, so it wasn’t easy to get the hay off. When I looked up from tugging on the hay to let Lyle know he could pull forward, I noticed that Shivers, Ucky’s daughter, was in the process of calving. Yikes! It was a little too early to start calving season this year.
I motioned to Lyle so he would know what was going on. We continued feeding hay, and Shivers continued calving. Though the calf was hidden behind its mom, I saw its feet wiggling, so I knew it was alive. When we were finished feeding, Lyle and I checked on the calf. The little heifer was already trying to get up, once falling on her head.
We knew it would be awhile until the calf was ready to eat, so Lyle and I went on back to the house. I hadn’t purchased calving supplies yet, so I didn’t have any powdered colostrums to mix up to get the baby started. I decided to drive into Craig and buy some and be back in time to feed her.
I warmed up the car, changed out of my chore coat, and grabbed my purse. Now the day before, when I came home, the lane leading into our house was drifted a little. The wind had blown during the night, but I had no idea how much. The choice to drive to the feed store was a bad one. Long story short, I got stuck in drifted snow. I walked back to the house. Lyle took a look at the car and shook his head. We decided to feed the calf first, then pull the car out.
I warmed up milk from the refrigerator. The calf drank it greedily, but she still hadn’t gotten up. We decided to dig the “boat” — a heavy plastic boat used by our family to haul calves into the shop for warming — out of drifted snow. We’d let the calf warm up and put her back with her mom.
We got the boat out of the snow, but when Lyle went to start the four-wheeler to pull it to the feedlot, no luck. He had to put some heat on the four-wheeler, so we waited. Finally, we headed to the feedlot with the boat. About halfway down, Lyle waved at me to stay at the gate. The calf was up. We left her with Mom and went back to the shop.
Then, it was time to retrieve the car. There isn’t near enough room left in this column to describe the experience of pulling the car back up the lane via the tractor, with Lyle in the tractor and me at the wheel of the car. Bless his heart, my husband probably should have been yelling at the crazy woman steering the car the wrong way, but he was very kind.
Long story short — we got the car back to the house, and Lyle plowed out the lane. I came into the house, made the bed, and washed the dishes from the night before. Then, it was time to do afternoon chores.
So, putting our feet up and enjoying a little chocolate seemed pretty good this past Valentine’s Day!
I spent this past Saturday morning preparing for Sunday’s lunch branding — at least what I could get done early. I cooked pasta and boiled eggs. I made a gelatin salad. I decided to bake a banana cake, a family favorite, for dessert.