Calf Conversations

I like to talk for our animals. I know precisely what they’re saying. It’s a gift. So, I tend to take it upon myself to make sure their voice is heard around here.

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Hello there.You’re a face I’m not used to seeing out here. Hey, how about this warmer weather? Nice, huh? Look, I’ll cut to the chase. I know the farmer is feeding bottles right now and I realize that I’m a little old for that, but  could I trouble you to–“

“MOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!

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“Dadgum it, Ethel! I was trying to win her over with my charming -innocent-cute face- pose!!

 

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“Get back in there!! This is my turf! You better check yourself before I wreck you with my horn nubbins, you obnoxious foghorn! Know your place, woman!”

Wow…the niceties literally went out the window. Note to self–49 has a temper!

I think I’ll just turn around and talk to a baby.

 

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Hey, little guy!

 

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“You got a bottle?”

Um, well…no, but it actually appears you’ve already had your breakfast.

 

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“What if I stretch my neck just a leeeetle longer?”

Nope, sorry, buddy.

 

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“You’re dead to me.”

Oh, it looks like we have a new ringleader at the window.

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“Yeah, you know what they say…50 is the new 49.”

I’m sensing a bovine hierarchy around here.

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“I’m gonna try this move one more time. No? Still not getting a bottle? (Sigh) Those were the good old days.”

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“Mmmm, 50, I just LOVE that new perfume you’re wearing. What did you call it again? Dolce and Gabarna?”

I tell ya, rarely a dull moment. This country air sure is good for a person’s sanity.

 

 

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Milestones

This morning, I dropped my baby off at school for her first day of kindergarten.

First Day of Kindergarten

I haven’t cried…yet. Luxe isn’t allowing me a chance to. However, I feel like a piece of my heart broke off and stayed at school with her. I can’t wait to pick her up so I can hear about her day.

That Band-Aid on her arm is from a booster shot she had to get on Monday. We got her a little stuffed Husky dog named Slush for moral support. However, I only thought she had to get one shot. They informed us there were 2 for this visit.

Let the meltdown commence. She was bawling before the first needle prick.

Taegan doesn’t like to show weakness, so we walked back out to the parking lot where my mom waited with Luxe with a red face and wounded pride sporting Band-Aids on both shoulders. My mom hugged Taegan and said, “You’re so brave! Such a big, strong girl!”

Taegan sourly replied, “Actually, I cried…”

We got her buckled in and had to chuckle. It’s rough being 5 and beating yourself up because you failed to meet your own self-imposed definition of brave.

But, she is brave. Brave without even realizing the risks she takes.

For instance, a week ago, the farmer had some dry cows with the milk cows. She knows they’re dry because he writes a big “D” on them with a hot-pink paint stick. We have a dry cow pasture where all the expecting mothers usually reside, but he had been letting these few come in the barn with the milk cows to eat grain, but not get milked.

Well, he walks out the other day to find them corralled off in a separate pin that leads to the dry cow pasture. Taegan, our little wisp of a girl, had sorted the dry cows out of the herd and put them where she thought they ought to go. Dry cows need to be in the dry cow pasture, so, by golly, they’re going in there tonight!

Usually, the farmer gets angry when he finds Taegan in the holding pin with the cows. It’s dangerous. She knows that. As he started to get mad, he realized what she’d done and just had to stare in shock for a minute.

“Daddy, we gotta get these dry cows in with the rest of them.”

“Ummm…yep, we do…,” he said.

Her grandma has given her the moniker “Little Pol” around here. I don’t know if any of you are familiar with the show, “The Incredible Dr. Pol,” but it’s Taegan’s absolute favorite. She DVR’s it and watches the reruns over and over and over. He’s a veterinarian who has a HUGE clientele in Michigan and does a lot of work on–you guessed it–cattle. Taegan has been known to perform procedures on her calves. The other day, one had a “twisted stomach”, so she was caught getting it on it’s back and rolling it over. The calf was perfectly fine, but it took one for the team.

That being said, I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up this morning and, with hardly a thought, she said, “A vet.”

It’s funny because right now, knowing Taegan, I can’t picture her doing anything else. That would be perfect for her.

Today is the first day of her academic career. It’s a milestone that begins a channeling of all this intelligence into more specific things. She’ll continue to learn more about what interests her and what doesn’t. Starting now. Kindergarten, to this mama, is the first step in the journey of growing up. And the farmer and I get to walk that journey for a while with Taegan, our little spirited, capable, determined daughter. We’re so proud and so blessed.

June-July: A List

Whew! This summer has been crazier than any other summer I think I’ve experienced. And by crazier, I mean BUSY. And by busy I mean, my poor little blog takes the back burner more than I would like.

Today, I’m going to attempt to squeeze June-July into one post.

1. I’ve been working 2 days a week at the law firm I work for in the city. I love the job, but I do not love the 2.5-3 hours I spend on the road getting there and back. And see, my right foot is kind of on the heavy side and I’m all about efficiency, so I’m waiting for the day when I become both an employee and a client.

2. After returning from Orange Beach, we had the Tri-County Fair to go to. This is Taegan leading her calf, Triumph, into the barn.

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She’s looking less and less like a toddler every day, which means I catch myself just staring at her while wave after nostalgic wave rolls through me all the while trying to picture who she’ll be when she grows up…

WAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!!

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She had a great time and made new friends. Some human, some bovine.

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Naturally, she and Triumph won first place.

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(Little secret: It helps when you have absolutely no competition. Zero.)

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A blue ribbon, a new lead rope, and a good friend.

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Because of Triumph’s star status and her new position as playmate, she gets the privilege of just running free in our yard. I look out the window and there’s Triumph just walking around, picking grass, looking in windows, chasing Banjo, or being led around by Taegan. (She still gets “showed” on a daily basis). Basically, Triumph is now a pet.

She sometimes gets tired of being led around and runs into the brush and weeds. This occurred a few weeks back. Never fear, though. I’m definitely not raising a dummy.

Who does one call when a cow won’t come out of the brush and weeds?

That’s right…Banjo.

I stepped out on the deck and witnessed this: Triumph had made it impossible for Taegan to get to her, so I heard Taegan yell, “Banjo!”

Dun-Dun-DAAAHHH! He really does need a cape.

He runs to her and looks at her like, “What ya want me to do?” She says, “Go get it!” Trust me, you don’t have to tell him twice. He lives for this. He bounds off barking and carrying on, gets behind the calf, and drives her straight to Taegan.

I was totally enthralled. The intelligence of both my daughter and her dog…I couldn’t do anything but laugh and then go call her dad.

Triumph doesn’t run into the brush anymore. And Taegan really doesn’t need a lead strap for Triumph to follow her around now. She just does it.

And Banjo gets to lay in the shade and enjoy some reprieve.

For now.

(Note about Banjo: I mentioned that we were sending him to get trained a few posts back. Weeeeellll, it didn’t go so well. See, we wanted him to learn how to herd. Like, go get the cows and bring them all to the barn for us. Long story short, he got kicked out of herding school. You should have witnessed my husband. The disappointment. The anguish. The embarrassment. Blue Heelers are what the trainer called “drivers.” Border Collie’s are “herders.”She told us up-front that she didn’t know if he would do it, but she’d give it a try. Yeah…no. But you know what? He’s still very useful around here. As a playmate, as entertainment, as a guard dog, and as a helper. Taegan obviously knows what he’s good at and when the farmer is out rounding up the girls to go the barn and he has one that just doesn’t care about going, all he has to say is, “Where’s Banjo?” and she’ll start moving right along. She doesn’t think we really need to go to extremes, now, do we? They’d rather him not be around.)

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Getting a picture of all of our kids even looking at the camera is impossible, but they all really enjoy this time of year. It’s a lot of work getting these calves ready and they (and their parents) put a lot of time into preparing. My sister-in-law, Tanna, was the one that really worked hard with Taegan and her kids and we’re glad because Taegan probably wouldn’t show at all if it wasn’t for her. Thank you, Tanna!

There’s a lot more over the last couple of months to tell you about, but I’ve got to take Taegan to swim lessons, so I’ll just have to write more throughout the following days. Stay tuned.

 

To be continued…

 

Breauna

Country Blues: A Journal Entry

I’m not having a “rainbows and sunshine” kind of day. Literally and figuratively. For one, it’s cloudy, windy, and a random raindrop can be felt when you walk outside. I love the rain, but today it’s only lending to my melancholy because I’m having an “I feel isolated and miss my family/friends” kind of day. To tell you I didn’t have these kinds of days from time to time would be dishonest. And even though I keep this blog lighthearted and fun, let’s be real here: Life is not always so. There are things I want to do, people I want to see, favors from long ago  I want to return that are not always possible because I live a good distance from where I’m needed sometimes. When in these moods, I try to give myself a pep talk that goes something like this: “It is what it is, Breauna. You are where you are. You are way out here because that’s where God wants you–for now or forever. You can’t always save the day. You just have to do the best you can do.” And then I do my best to remember the wonderful perks that arise out of my current circumstances:

1. I am far away. I’m far away from all the bad things that come with city life. I’m far away from family and friends, but that just makes the time I do get to spend with them that much sweeter. I treasure it because I don’t get opportunity to take it for granted.

2. I get to stay at home with my daughter. I get to sit in the living room floor and play board games. I get to teach her. If my husband didn’t dairy farm, I don’t know that I would have the opportunity to do all of that  and I feel that it is so important. On top of that, when I’m needed somewhere, I don’t always have the ability to get there quickly, but at least I have the opportunity to get there. I wouldn’t even be able to entertain the idea if I worked.

3. Not only do I get to stay at home with my daughter, but I get to see my husband on and off throughout the day. Once in awhile, he might have time for a project I have in mind and we get to work on it together. Every bit of progress around here is ours and there’s reward in that.

4. A look out the window is to see the glory of God and His great blessing. The pastures, the hills, the flowers, the cattle, the buildings that help my husband provide for us like he does… The list goes on and on. Living off the land and relying on nothing but hard work and faith brings a person closer to God. It has for the both of us and I hope that it can only rub off on Peanut, as well. We’ve hit our hard times in farming, but the blessings far outweigh the troubles.

5. A man doing something he loves, knows, and is good at it is something to see. My heart swells knowing that the farmer finally feels like he’s doing what he was meant to do. I said earlier that “I’m where I am because that’s where God wants me to be.” Well, the same can be said of my husband and… wherever he goes, I will go.

6. I wouldn’t have opportunity to write about country life if we didn’t live in it.

7. I would never have known that I really enjoyed photography because I would never have had the opportunity to play. Country life inspires me. It makes me want to take the pictures. And the pictures make me want to write the stories.

8. We’d probably never have a Blue Heeler named Banjo if we lived in the city. For one, they need a lot of space. Two, his name just wouldn’t make as much sense. I remember the first time the farmer told the staff at the feed store why his name was Banjo: “Breauna named him. Pretty sure she thought there were some scenes reminiscent of Deliverance down here.” I wanted to crawl in a hole. Fortunately, they thought it was quite funny.

I know I’m leaving all kinds of things out, but I already feel better. Hopefully, some of it inspires you to remember what your blessings are on a “down” day, even though they might be different than mine. In fact, leave me a comment. What helps you on a melancholy day? What are things you wouldn’t get to experience if your circumstances were different?

Thanks for the therapy session. 🙂

Breauna

Snow Day

Yesterday was another–yet again–snow day and when there is snow, Peanut must play in it.

And when Peanut must play in it, Daddy must play in it, too.

She wanted to make a snowman and as any fun-loving, indulgent father would do, he agreed to it.

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See, she has more of a supervisory role.

Observing while the farmer does the laborious part.

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She might move to the other side, once in a while.

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Now, Peanut, you must punch the snowball.”

He didn’t really say that; I was just narrating.

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Official carrot holder. Somebody’s gotta do it!

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I hear it pays really well.

Then, Banjo arrived. He’s kind of a party crasher.

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This dog is so weird. Army crawling is his favorite mode of transportation. “Pft-puth-puh! Note to thelf: Don’t uthe your nothe ath a thnow plow…” (He has kind of a low, rather unintelligent voice if you’re trying to hear this in your mind. You’re welcome.)

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“I don’t know what that orange thing in her hand ith…but…I want it.”

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“Thtealth mode… keep your eye on the target.”

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“Doh! I’ve been made! I am up to abthoulutely nuffin.'”

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Thtick your nothe in the thnow…that alwayth confutheth ’em.”

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Then roll around…act like you’re just a dog…playin’ in the thnow.”

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“Yawn…look natural.”

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Meanwhile, the farmer is putting the finishing touches on the snowman.

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All done!

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Just your friendly, neighborhood Select Sires snowman. Out here in the cold. Advocating artificial insemination and exemplary genetics.

After that, being the adoring father that he is, the farmer threw a snowball at Peanut. However, Banjo saw this as an opportunity to play, as well. He kind of stole the show, in fact.

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The big galoof was showing off, catching snowballs on the fly.

“Catchin’ thnowbalth…I can do it in my thleep.”

Famous last words…

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“Firtht, you must antithipate.” (It’s kind of a selective lisp. I do it at my own discretion.)

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“Then, keep your eye on the thnowball.”

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“Wait for it…wait for it…”

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“Doh!! Mith’d it!”

In fact, he never…quite… caught it again.

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“But, look how high I can jump! Thee! Thee!”

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“Yeah!!! Th-tuck it!!

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Find the thnowball…and…bow.”

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A for effort, Banjo…ya cute lil’ thang.

Having way too much fun talking for my dog,

Breauna