The Anti Sunshine and Roses of Cattle Keeping or A Lesson In Tying One's Boots

Dexter Calf

Most cattlemen are calving right now, everywhere on social media you see these pictures of beautiful babies and everything is all sunshine and roses. Well, where are the real life stories!? The less than beautiful moments of cattle keeping, the chasing wayward cattle and the swear words you inevitably shout at loved ones and the threats of the feed lot if you don't change your ways!

Most nights around here are uneventful, the usual chores, feeding, checking for calves, and what not. March was a very cold, dreary month, and April (or February, whatever month Nebraska is trying to have) is setting up the same. People and cattle are crabby, they are ready for spring and some sunshine. The grass is just starting to turn green and any opportunity the cows have to sneak a bite, they take it.

Last night, I put in a cow calf pair as we were expecting freezing rain and didn't want said newborn to catch a chill. They went into the barn in a nice orderly fashion, however one of the yearling steers decided to sneak in and head straight for the momma cow's feed and alfalfa. After going in and squeezing him out of the stall, he shot into the alley way and out the walk through gate into the feed room. Thinking I was quick enough I tried to head out the other door to come around and push him back into the alley way. He had other thoughts and headed right out the door, quickly. He wasn't going to stick around to find out my thoughts on the matter either.

I grab my sorting stick thinking he isn't going to venture far from his friends who are now mooing their heads off because someone is out and they are not. I chase him on foot for a little bit, around buildings and towards the pasture. As I'm not making any ground, I go to grab Mack's little 4-wheeler. Which naturally won't work. Frustrated, I go back to giving chase on foot and lose interest in this method quickly. Up to the machine shed I run to get the Ranger, and off I go after this steer. He runs around in the pasture for awhile, me hot on his heels. At one point, Dylan, who was moving bales, even cut him off at one point with the tractor (which was moving quite fast). We push him up into the front pasture and chase him around up there. We finally get him back in the lot. This fiasco went on for what seemed like an hour, although I'm sure it was only about 15 minutes.

At this point I am rip-roaring mad, not at anything in particular, just mad. I park the ranger, hop off and tie my shoes, which have come untied and let my pants drag on the ground. (They are this pair of Ariat boots that I got at one point, didn't like and stashed away. My previous boots had met their end and I needed a pair of boots. Being to cheap to buy a pair I drug these things out and have been wearing them). I head out of the machine shed down to the pen (a walk of about 150 yards) and have to stop and tie my boots again.

Dylan was waiting for me with the skid-loader to feed cattle at this point. This was it, the final thing to set me off was these damn boots. I let rip a string of swear words that would have made most sailors blush, and ranted about how I was going to write Ariat a letter. Dylan questioning, "You're going to write them a letter? Do people do that anymore?" Me, raging mad at my boots, and the fact that I have to constantly tie them and now had extra laundry because of having to tie them which made my pants drag on the ground. These were all things I was going to put in my letter! Me, "Yes, I am going to write them a letter, and let them know that their products aren't good for anything but going to rodeos and dancing!" Insert more expletives.

After I had finally cooled off, I laughed, because, who writes letters about being angry at their boots. Who gets angry at their boots for starters! Cattle will always be a good source of frustration, but also a huge amount of joy. Not just from calves, but seeing the future of your herd, that first time you officially turn them out on pasture after a long winter, scratching your old favorites, who always lead the herd home.

Quick solution to my long winded problem, close the gate and double knot your boots.

The Easter Bunny was good to Dylan, meet our new herd sire, High Pines Ferley. He was not involved in the shenanigans of the night before.

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