On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on February 21, 2017:

After six years of living in Emory, I am closing in on a place where I can consider myself a country girl. Once in a while, though, something like calving season happens to remind me that I’m still a city girl.

A Facebook friend, a real country girl, posted that she had placed an ad on a cattle page looking for a bottle calf for her daughter to raise for 4H. She went on to explain the 4H rules for a calf-raising project. Then, she shared a comment someone had posted in response to her ad, challenging her wording and revealing how little they really knew about the process.

Being the city girl I am, I knew even less than the challenger, but my friend and I are close enough that she didn’t make fun of me when I asked about some of the details of her project in a later email exchange. She explained enough to satisfy my curiosity and even admitted one of her own mistakes when she referred to “cattle season” rather than “calving season.” Personally, I wouldn’t have known the difference.

A few days later, a friend at church shared that one of their cows had given birth for the first time that day. All was well, or so she thought, until she started to leave the house and noticed several buzzards circling the pasture. She was worried that the calf might be in trouble, so she took the time to check it out before she left. Then, she related a tale about bovine afterbirth that was just gross. It made me appreciate the saying that ignorance is bliss.

Friday night at home group, Kent was showing off pictures of his newest grandcalf, dropped at 3:30 that afternoon. Of course, the first thing we all asked was if it was a boy or a girl. Actually, some probably asked if it was a bull or a heifer, but – well, you know – but Kent didn’t know. He said that, while some people immediately check the gender and tag the calf, he prefers to wait two or three days, especially with this particular cow. He went on to explain that this isn’t her first calf, and he knows she’s a good mama. He likes to give her some time to get settled before he invades her space. Chalk another one up in the I-didn’t-know-that column.

We’re house-sitting for the Larsons later this month. After showing off his pictures, Kent mentioned that they have three other calves on the way.

“So this time my house-sitting duties might include pulling a calf.” I said.

One of the other women in the group gave me a wide-eyed look and said, “Can you do that?”

I laughed. “Are you kidding? My only duty relative to the cattle is counting them a couple of times a day – and sometimes I have problems with that.”

I titled this column with a question: What does a city girl know about calving season? The answer is, absolutely nothing – and for that, I am very grateful.



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