Friday, April 5, 2013

Strangely Beautiful

I'm a hopeless romantic. Yep, like most females, I love a good romance. And I am not just talking about the one of those "the guy says the right thing every time while he and his bulging muscles and gallant steed sweep in to save the day" type of fairy tales. Not that I don't like a good book, but I guess it would be better described as I like romantic things. Like checking cows riding my favorite horse along with someone I love; seeing a baby calf as it tries to stand on wobbly legs moments after it is born; or the sight of the south end of a cow headed north as I am trailing her towards fresh grass.

Who'd of thought cows were so darn romanctic. But I guess they are. One of the definitions good ole Webster tagged on romance was a mysterious or fascinating quality or appeal, as of something adventurous, heroic, or strangely beautiful. I guess the south end of a cow headed north might easily fall into that "strangely beautiful" category. 

I always thought that bottle feeding orphan calves was a romantic part to the ranchwife's daily duties. There is something about providing nurture to another of God's created beings being neglected that sure tugs at my heart strings. Those sensitive heart strings are probably what God used to tug me into foster care. Well last year we took on some share cattle..half of which were old enough to vote. With mama cows too old to be raising babies, I got my heart strings tugged a lot. We had orphan calves a plenty. I am not gonna lie, the "romance" of feeding bottle calves faded about as quickly as it took to upload the pictures onto facebook of our first black angus orphan.

Bottle calves are a pain in the butt. They don't want to be fed when you first start out then they want to be fed all the time. They have the habit of biting the nipple off the bottle spilling the non too cheap milk replacer all over you. And they butt you constantly. You have to be there morning and night to feed them and after all that work they often don't grow to be worth a dang. And sometimes they die.

So this year, as calving approached, I suggested to the hubbs that we get a nurse cow and being male and never once entertaining the thought that bottle calves were romantic, he told me to start shopping around. After deciding exactly what I was hoping for and getting expert advice from others more experienced than myself, I finally found what I thought would be the perfect fit for us. We headed out to take a look at her.

And there she was...a four year old, Longhorn Guernsey cross. She looked kinda tough, a little western and meaner than she really is. They said she likes to eat and gets a little grouchy if you don't feed her on time. Her bag hung down almost to the ground and they told me if we had a calf whose mama wasn't feeding it, she was sure to claim it. To say that I felt she and I had lots in common would be quite an understatement...

So we loaded up "Reba" and brought her home. I already love that cow. The ole gal is worth her weight in gold. Now I am pretty certain she wouldn't fit in real well in a pen of four at the stock show nor would she win any beauty contest but I think she is the most lovely thing we own. Perhaps its another one of those "strangely beautiful" things. Or maybe I just love seeing my calf bottle washed and put away. But when I look out into the corral and see her mothering three calves besides her own...well it tugs on those heart strings.

But like I said, I AM a hopeless romantic... 

John 14:18 "I will not leave you all alone like orphans..."

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