Monday, February 28, 2011

Birth Announcement

So we have a new addition to our family...of Simmentals.  On Saturday, February 19, my ma and I were filling the hay feeders, and I tried to capture calf cuteness with my camera as I walked around among them.  That was when I noticed a 14-inch long string of mucus hanging from "Lizzie"'s lady parts. Now typically, cows in labor don't chow down so we were a little surprised that Lizzie was filling up on the forage.

Once we finished distributing feed, then went in the barn to make sure the maternity pen was ready. Mom hollered "Lizzie!" and I told her she'd crap her pants if Lizzie walked through the door. Well, Lizzie did come walking right in, with only a slight hesitation before going straight through the gate into her calving pen.  Mom did not crap her pants. Neither did I, although I was definitely more shocked that Lizzie did answer to her name.

As soon as she entered the pen, you could tell she was not comfortable.  Since Lizzie had never calved before, we decided to stay a bit just in case there were any problems. After about 40 minutes, and not seeing any hooves yet, Mom decided to check out the calf's position. The calf was in the correct position - front hooves coming first, followed by a nose - but Mom noted that the feet were "huge" and we would be staying for the duration of the birth.

Shortly after, things progressed quickly...until the head started coming out. Mom grabbed some extra pieces of baler twine (we'll be investing in calving chains before our next bouncing bundle of bovine), and stepped in to provide assistance.  The owner of the facility where we house our cows also joined the birthing team, and the three of us pulled as Lizzie pushed.  Finally, the head was free and we kept momentum on the calf as the rest of it spilled out onto the ground. It was a big, big boy.  When we used the calf tape on his front hoof the next day, it gave us an estimate of 132 pounds, plus or minus up to seven pounds due to shrinkage or fill. The average Simmental bull is about 88 pounds, so I figure Lizzie having the bull was like a woman having a 12 pound baby. Naturally.

I have named him Little John (after Robin Hood's right hand man) but he is already the same height as Magnum, a 3/4 Simmental, 1/4 Angus bull calf - and paternal brother - born seven weeks earlier.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dread Becomes Her

Ah, yes, the lovely sense of foreboding that the deep, hacking cough - despite its occasional occurrence - is just the beginning of an illness that is going to make me wish I was dead.  I should not be surprised that illness may lie deep within since I rode in the Truck of Death with my mother on Saturday. With all her hacking and sneezing, I felt my mammalian instincts kick in and the "disease alert" blared in my mind even though there was no escape. Despite the roomy interior of the Silverado, I was trapped and subject to whatever particles were being spewed into the air.

Of course, there is the possibility that my cough is nothing much at all, like a chunk of ice floating in the water not being a ship-sinking iceberg.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dear Me

So I realized I hadn't blogged in quite some time (although I feel somewhat justified in the fact that I had part-time work to put ahead of everything else).  I also haven't been exercising or taking care of my health either. Unfortunately this resulted in a verbal boot in the ass from one of my doctors. This week I've been journaling what I eat, and hopefully will get back into the exercise habit. As for blogging? I've been trying to think creatively, and finally thought of something that might help me out in a number of ways.  I thought I'd write a letter to myself, because I'm not content with my life and what's happening in it. So here goes:

Dear Me,

There are several things you need to remember as you move forward in life. First of all, stay out of the past. Yes, you can learn from your mistakes but, for the most part, AVOID IT. Secondly, question your habits. Understand yourself better. What are you afraid of learning about you? Third, each day is a new day so make it your best yet. Is it a long road ahead for you, physically? Of course it is, and yes, it's going to get hard. It's going to be frustrating. There is always a possibility of failure in attaining your goals. But you're afraid of success and being able to handle it well.

Try to remember what it felt like when you played softball, and how you succeeded in some high-pressure situations. It was exhilarating - because you allowed yourself to be you, and you were constantly working to be the best. For some reason, when you gave up softball, you gave up ambition. You need to find that again or you're not going to find any sort of peace and happiness in your life.
Finally, you are smart,  you're funny and not nearly as unattractive as you think you are.