The cow is older than dirt but she keeps on raising top calves; this morning she was down.
She has a big spring calf and, yes, we should have weaned all of the spring calves already but it just hasn't worked out that way. We would like to be perfect but the fact is we aren't. The cow was in dire need of help and I called our vet. We got the cow propped up and waited.
I stayed with the cow for a while and the offspring continued on with the daily work. I finally got a call that Doc was having trouble with a C-section and would be here when he could make it. I checked the hay bale holding the cow up and all seemed well. I left to start the counting of hides and knew it wouldn't be long before I could be back to check on the cow.
I suspect the cow began trying to get up or stretch out or something but she got the hay moved and was laid out flat. She was in terrible shape when I got back and boosted her back up, shoved the hay back and she started breathing easier again.
We have the luck of regular beef producers -- all this was happening on a little rise just off the state highway. The same highway that was gravel when we bought the place is now a very busy road. I don't know where the people go but many of them travel up and down that road from before daylight until way after dark. And, as the public travel past cattle, they observe and they, the general public, are concerned about the humane treatment of all animals.
The deputy sheriff drove up and did not smile or say hello. He began to ask questions about the ownership of the mistreated animal, stretched out flat and kicking, needing help and not one person there to assist said animal. Yes, four reports of animal cruelty had been called to the sheriff's office in less than an hour! When he finally had to take a breath, I began to explain, but that deputy was wound up like an eight-day clock and did not understand one thing I was telling him.
The offspring showed up about that time and he spun around and started on them. That was when I realized the language I was hearing came from another country! Yes, he was a non-native and might as well have been from Mars. He had stepped close and was shaking his finger in the oldest one's face and, just before things got physical, that much-appreciated vet pulled up. I wanted to hug him but did not know what the deputy would think of that!
Things calmed down as the respect for the doctor took over and the same words I had said were accepted and the law shook our hands and left.
It is my opinion, and everyone has one, all us farmers and landowners appreciate the help, the call that cattle are out or a stop to help if a feller has a flat. We are indebted to many folks that will not only call but will push the escapees back toward the gate, put them in and wire the gate closed! It is the ones who know nothing about our business but try to tell us how to run it who leave a bad taste in our mouths! Concrete jungles are not good training for farm country whistleblowers.
It is a problem to keep barrels blue and glistening in the damp weather. Keep on oiling and buy more ammo. Remember the Alamo!
Bill is the pen name used by the Gravette-area author of this weekly column. Opinions expressed are those of the author.