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Monday, Sep. 26, 2016
It's alive!Posted Tuesday, March 24, 2009, at 10:47 AM
I confess. There are some days I just don't want to live on a farm or be a farm wife.
I realize that may be surprising considering the columns I write. But the truth is there are times I think it would be nice to live in a city where both my husband and I have perfect (and secure) 8 to 5 jobs (is there such a thing?) We'd have every weekend off, never work past 5'o'clock and get 3.7 weeks of paid vacation a year.
In my fantasy we'd have no cows, no fields to plant, no debts, no weeds, no harvest -- not even a yard to mow.
Our only responsibilities would be our two perfect Stepford children who are seen and not heard. (Hey, if you're going to dream -- dream big!)
Well, Saturday was one of those days. A good friend and I had made plans for a fun girl's day out. It was my birthday weekend, I had just finished the Spring Ag edition and I was looking forward to getting away for just a little while.
The only problem was I am a farm wife, it is spring, some of the ground dried, it was time to put on anhydrous and well ... my husband had other plans for me.
Luckily, since it was Saturday and college spring break and I bore two children to help on the farm -- we worked out a compromise so I was able to go with my friend -- as long as I did "a few things," before and after our trip.
So I packed lunches, drove my son to our farm in Malta Bend so he could help in the field, covered a story for the paper and then I met my friend.
After a great ferry ride to Glasgow, lunch in a cute little restaurant and some shopping, we headed home. I had other farm chores to do. One was to cut through the country on our way back to Marshall and drive by our field to "check" on a cow.
Now this wasn't any cow, she was an old (and very gentle) cow. But in her case, we knew she would need assistance having her calf, which was due anytime. In fact, for the last two weeks my husband had gotten up around 1 a.m. each night to check her, while I (if I heard him) would lay selfishly in my warm comfy bed praying that she wouldn't be in labor. That way I could stay in my warm comfy bed. (I told you some days I don't want to be a farm wife, well most nights I really don't want to.)
As I headed my car up the hill towards my house we saw the cow lying on the ground -- on her side, not moving. Panic struck -- my day of pleasure had cost both the cow and her calf their lives.
I pulled next to the pasture and jumped out of the car, slamming the door. She lifted her head and looked at us. She was alive!!
We jumped back in the car and I drove around to the gate and ran into the pasture, "town clothes" and all. I asked my friend to call my husband. There was no doubt -- the calf was finally coming.
Cows, who normally wouldn't let me be so close, are like women in labor. When it becomes difficult, they usually don't care who sees them, who helps or what is done to them as long as the end result means the baby is finally out!
After several phone calls to my husband and some instructions, (I won't go into gory details-think obstetrician with a less sterile environment), I finally did most of what I was supposed to do to help her, about the time she stood up.
My friend (also a farm wife, originally from the city) helped me get the cow into a smaller lot. After a few minutes, still standing up, the calf's feet and head pushed out, but then stopped.
I'd seen and helped my husband and the vet "pull" calves many times. But I had never done it myself. I wasn't sure I had time to wait for the vet -- I didn't want the calf to die. So I made a split second decision, grabbed the legs and pulled the calf. Out it came, landing on the ground.
I looked down, holding my breath -- was it alive? Then I saw ... a twitch of an ear and a wagging of its tongue. The eyes slowly opened up. It started to move a leg and twitched its other ear.
"It's alive! It's alive! I did it, I did it!" I yelled.
The cow looked at me like I had lost my mind (maybe I had). Then she calmly turned around, unfazed and started licking her newborn in order to clean and dry him.
The miracle of life -- right there in our cattle lot.
In just those 15 or fewer minutes, I had stopped feeling sorry for myself and instead felt thankful and lucky.
Thankful we live on a farm. Thankful we get to see the circle of life up close each spring. Thankful to raise my children in the country. And especially thankful for the chance to bring new life into the world.
Yes, I'm thankful -- and lucky. I'm a farm wife.
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