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3/12/2014 1:11:00 PM Column: It's all in the hands
Two weeks ago, I became a proud mama. No, not to a child but rather a healthy 80-pound, angus heifer calf. And in that moment, when my dad, sister, and I were bustling around, separating the cow/calf pair from the rest of the herd, and tending to the sweet little baby, I was once again awed by life’s everyday blessings, that are almost always there if you know where to look. I watched my sister move the cows out of the barn. I watched my dad delicately carry the newborn to a warmer pen. I hauled in straw bales for extra warmth. The one thing that really stood out to me that night was the way my father cradled that newborn in his hands as I’ve seen so many other times growing up. It’s those hands that truly exemplify life’s everyday blessings. Those hands have wiped my tears away, have helped me up when I’ve fallen (or have been kicked by a moody heifer), have guided me in the right direction, have taught me right from wrong, and have taught me the value of hard work. Those hands are the epitome of today’s farmers and ranchers. Gentle. Hard-working. Flexible. You see, farmers and ranchers will spend hours upon hours caring for their animals in any given day, especially now during calving season. Some days, they’re up before the crack of dawn checking on the pregnant cows or tending to newborn calves. Some days, they may spend the better part of an afternoon building a calf corral in the bitter cold (but that’s a story for another day). Sometimes, plans get changed at the last-minute due to complications during calf delivery. Sometimes, the calf can be saved and other times, we’re not so lucky. It’s those hands that calm the cows down, that care for that calf, or make that phone call to the closest veterinarian. It’s those hands that comfort a distraught family member at the loss of a calf. It’s those hands that shake it off hoping for a better run next time. Some people may wonder why in the world would a person subject themselves to that type of around-the-clock work? Well for us, it’s what we do. It’s in our blood. It’s our passion. There’s nothing better than turning our calves into champions in the show ring. A wise man once told me “A champion isn’t born. A champion is made.” It’s those same hands that feed that calf the proper nutrients to become a champion. It’s those same hands that work with the calf, that wash it, and get it ready for shows. And it’s those same hands that, win or lose, shake the hand of the judge each and every time. Even to this day, some of my fondest memories take me right back to the show barn whether its the epic water fights that always seemed to find me at the wash racks, a sweet game of bags after a long day, enjoying a freshly grilled rib-eye with new friends, or the shopping. Yes, folks, the shopping at a cattle show has been some of the best shopping I’ve ever done. You can find bling in every shape and color, boots, purses, you name it, it’s probably there. But more than that, my family sums it up the best when asked by a local reporter several years ago why we spend our summers going from show to show to show instead of vacationing in some tropical paradise. It’s something we can do together that never gets old. Plus, it keeps us busy and out of trouble — for the most part. And for that, we are blessed. From one cattlewoman to another, I hope you all have a successful calving season!
Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2014
Article comment by:
Good one M.E.. You find the absolute good in every endeavor . Now in this story, well, it stops far short of the end. no animal should ever be abused or treated badly, not ever. No neighbor should ever have to put up with the smell of some ones yard that is used as a dog toilet and never cleaned or some ones dog allowed to walk trough a flower bed or garden while being walk on a long line. As for this animal, well the owner fails to tell in this story the reward all this care will bring at the auction. The high price this animal will bring and the smile the big check will bring as the animal is loaded on its way to the slaughter house. Another job well done and the rewards gotten from honest work.
Posted: Thursday, March 13, 2014
Article comment by:
Some farmers have a deep connection to the land and to animal life. They have not forgotten the "life essence," and recognize the soul of all, whether earth, animal, or person. It is only a distracted, distorted consciousness that judges any to be "not worthy" of love and life. Know that both men and women can love unconditionally and completely. It is time for all of us to LIVE this lesson. Thanks for a heartfelt column. We need more of these.
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