Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Yes, definitely calving. As I watched, she strained.
But something was wrong. She had obviously been at this a while, but was making no visible progress.
I finally got a clear view of her back end. I could see a pink calf's nose.
And one little white hoof.
No explanations needed.
Posted by Diane Tolley at 7:54:00 AM
Monday, May 9, 2011
|Grant . . . Don't ask|
For these reasons, he commuted his love of fire to a love of fire . . . works. They sizzled. They sparked. They exploded. They were a budding ‘pyro’s’ citified dream. They filled the void left by his unfortunate, but necessary, separation from fire.
He began a tradition. Fireworks on New Year’s Day. It was a relatively safe time. The world heavily coated in fire retardant – commonly called snow. Everyone in a festive mood, ready to celebrate.
Permits and regulations were disregarded. One merely had to invite the mayor and his family over for dinner and a show to get around those. Who’s going to ticket the mayor?
We won’t go there . . .
There was a large snow bank in a field just outside of the town limits. Perfect for the display. An array of fireworks, chosen specifically from the abundant possibilities, were thrust, carefully but firmly, into this bank to hold them steady before their spectacular flight.
Grant had things organized. Our second son and his friend were on hand to light things up. Strictly in order. Chaos controlled. Explosions only on his command.
The stage was set.
The first sparklers went off without a hitch. Starlight exploded in the sky. Red, Green, White, Blue. The display was dazzling. We oohed and aahed on cue. Everything was proceeding well.
Then the event.
One candle had ideas of its own. Not a good thing when you’re a firework. It went up, but before it could fulfill the measure of its creation, its trajectory . . . changed somewhat. Straight down, in fact. Into the box of remaining fireworks.
For a moment, Grant stared at it, perhaps too shocked and surprised to really take in what had just happened. The firework spluttered warningly. He screamed. Not a good sound in the middle of a fireworks display. In an amazingly graceful leap, he cleared the snow bank, taking the two boys with him. The three of them landed in an ungainly heap. Then, totally abandoning dignity, they scrambled frantically for the nearest shelter as the real fireworks display began behind them.
It was like a scene out of a movie. For several minutes, the crackers fizzed and shot everywhere, sending up showers of sparks from wherever they happened to land. A few even made their way skyward. It was spectacular. Amazing. Fun. Everyone screamed and laughed . . . and ducked.
Then . . . silence.
After waiting several minutes, Grant finally figured it was safe to move. He crawled behind the snow bank, using knees and elbows. Sort of like a soldier approaching a bunker. A very cold, snowy bunker. With exploding things inside it.
Yes, just like a bunker.
He emerged some time later holding the still-smoking box, with the remnants of his collection and a very chagrined face.
Fortunately, no one was injured. But Grant never again held a fireworks display. For one thing, he was out of fireworks. For another - how could he ever top that?
Sunday, May 8, 2011
|Me and GollyGee|
I had been Dad’s official herdsman for . . . about two weeks. A job that had hitherto been the responsibility of one or more hired men.
Our operation had shrunk in size until we no longer needed hired men. We kids could do most of the work. And did. 24 hours a day. Seven days . . . but that is another story.
I was checking the herd for prospective, or recent, mothers. My horse stumbled, literally, over a small, newborn calf lying in the tall grass. Abandoned. At that early point in my new career, I didn’t know that the calf certainly wasn’t in any danger. Mama was nearby.
All I could see was a small, defenceless little creature that needed my help. I picked it up. And somehow got it across the riding pad on my horse. And then managed to get up behind it. No mean feat for someone without stirrups.
Or a brain.
I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of the cowboy bringing home the small, half-frozen calf. The tiny creature lying helplessly across his saddle. I had always pictured myself doing just that. It seemed . . . romantic somehow. And was. Until the calf peed. All down my new riding pad. You never saw that in the pictures.
I managed to make it to the corrals in the corner of the pasture. I set the little cretin down in a corner and went off in search of Mama. There. The cow running around and bawling. Now all I had to do was reunite them. Simple. Not. She didn’t want to vacate the area where she had last seen her baby. He must be here. If she ran back and forth a few . . . thousand . . . more times, she was sure to stumble over him.
I had an idea. I would rope her. She certainly wouldn’t be able to argue with that. Genius! I rode back to the corral and returned with my Dad’s brand new lariat.
Getting the loop over the head of the frantic cow was easy. Then I would just . . . dally . . . I looked down in consternation at the place where the saddle horn should be.
Where it . . . wasn’t.
The rope slid through my hands, along with the cow.
I managed to reunite cow and calf. Finally. By bringing the calf and putting him back where I had found him originally. The cow wore Dad’s expensive new lariat for several months. I called her ‘Ring Around the Collar’. I though it was funny.