We now have three bucket calves, MooGruder, Spradling, and our latest addition Chambers. The bucket calves are Tatum’s department and yes, she is a K-State fan. Normally bucket calves are a sign of failure but this year all three were twins, so I guess they were bonus calves. Well, bonus calves until you go to pay for milk replacer.
MooGruder was our first bucket calf this year and was quickly followed by Spradling. After Spradling plans were made for either Chambers (if it was a heifer calf) or Angel (if it was a bull calf) and we really hoped there would be no Gibson or Southwell. However, a month came and went and no third calf was added to this year’s lineup. Last week, the first two went to once a day feedings and the chores became simpler, more than once we wished, aloud, for no more bucket calves. Then came the call.
Dad called me early Thursday morning last week with news of another set of twins.” Oh great” or something like that was my reaction. Dad and I went out to tag the calves and decide which one would be bucket calf number three. Usually the cow makes the choice for us, but this cow refused to choose. After a quick conference, we decided to leave both calves in place and go on with our plans for the day.
That evening we returned to the twins. One would stay with the cow and one would become either Chambers or Angel. Maybe the cow would have made up her mind. No luck, she would not cooperate, so we decided to take the heifer calf. I slipped out of the pick and quickly nabbed the calf, who will be here after named Chambers. OK, so she was sleeping and I just walked up and picked her up.
I put Chambers on the floor board of the pick-up under my feet and we proceeded to check the rest of the cows. She laid there very docile looking at me with big, wide eyes, never once offering to cause any problems. Dad and I returned to his house, transferred Chambers over to the pick-up I was driving and discussed strategy. Normally, we transport bucket calves together, with one of us driving and one restraining the calf. However, we both agreed that this calf seemed unusually quiet and since I was going home for the day, there really was no reason to waste fuel with a return trip.
It just so happened that this was also a day that the 4-H steers needed more feed. We buy feed in bulk for our replacement heifers and have it delivered to Dad’s farmstead. A couple of times each week I bag up feed and haul it back home and this was one of those days. We decided that a bag of feed strategically placed beside the four wheel drive shifter would provide a barrier for Chambers. With that I loaded my feed and placed Chambers on the passenger side floor board and loaded two big round bales on the bale bed. I felt pretty good about my ability to multi-task; after all I was hauling feed, hay and a calf home all at the same time. I was saving at least one trip between my place and Dad’s.
Feeling smug I pulled out of Dad’s and was soon on the highway. That smug feeling soon was replaced when I heard the pitter patter of little split hooves on the console next to me. Chambers had decided that laying down was no longer acceptable and had decided to stand up. Not only did she decide to stand up but she also decided to climb up into the passenger’s seat to have a better look at the world that was passing her by. So there I was driving down the highway, one hand holding up a bag of feed, a calf standing next to me and two bales on the back making the drive challenging.
I decided to quell any temptation of an escape by rolling up my window. I could only imagine what the accident report would look like if Chambers had decided to dive out my window and into oncoming traffic. Still I must have been a sight, just about everyone I met stared at me but that didn’t occur to me until I met the Sherriff’s deputy. I released my grip on the feed sack to wave at him and I swear I saw his brake lights come on at least twice. That was about the time the feed sack fell over.
Now I know that you are all waiting on me to finish the story. Did I go into the ditch? Did I get a ticket? No, actually the rest of the trip was pretty uneventful, just a rancher and his calf riding along. Chambers is doing well and soon will meet MooGruder and Spradling. In the meantime I can only think of what was going through the deputy’s mind as we met. I bet he wanted to pull me over and issue……. Now don’t get ahead of me……… a moooving violation.