Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Country roads, take me home

The kiddos and I are heading back up to my parents house tonight for part of the long Easter weekend. Daycare is closed the next two days so I figured it was a good time to take off work and go back to the farm for a few days as we haven't been there since November.

I am ridiculously excited to go back to my parents house for a few days. Like I said here, even though I haven't lived there for roughly 12 years, a part of me will always consider it to be Home.

I'm also excited because it's calving season. I think one reason I enjoy reading Pioneer Woman so much is that she posts gratuitous cow photos. Granted, there's quite a difference between a large cattle ranch like theirs and my family's farm, but cattle are cattle no matter where they roam.

My sister took these photos last year when we were all up for Mother's Day. She and my dad took the kiddo and her two kids out to the pastures to look at all the baby cows.

Don't you just want to take him home? I love the curly little patch of hair in the middle of his forehead.

Having a little snack. Mama doesn't look to thrilled to have this captured for all eternity.

Basking in the sun.

Somewhat artistic (albeit tilted) shot. WTG sissy.

Even a year later, the kiddo still talks about going to see the baby cows with Papa. I can't wait to take him out again this year, now that he's a year older and can understand even more.

I loved helping my dad tag the calves after they were born. We'd hop in one of the pickups and go bumping down the gravel road to one of the many calving pastures. Once we were there, I'd have to jump out to open the gate, wait for him to drive through and then close it again, always looking where I stepped (and always wearing old tennis shoes) because there was inevitably a fresh cow patty in the area. Then I'd get back in the truck and we'd slowly drive around the pasture looking for new calves. I'd load up the tagger and keep my eyes peeled, notebook at the ready.

The guys had a little notebook they kept in the tagger box where they'd write down the tag number of the mother, the tag number of the calf, the sex and the breed in a shorthand they'd come up with after years of raising cattle. I always enjoyed looking at their notes in the back of the book, too. Sometimes there would be a mama cow who was sick or mean or lost a calf, and they would note this for future reference. Sometimes there would be twins and the mama would only be able to feed one.

Seeing nature in action like that was a great life experience while growing up. We learned early that life isn't all sunshine and roses. Sometimes animals die and there's nothing we can do about it. Sometimes we can. That's the kind of experience I want to be able to offer my kiddos, too. I just hope we can.

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