Stories from the Stringam Family Ranches of Southern Alberta

From the 50s and 60s to today . . .



Thursday, November 10, 2016

Real Bone Head

Okay, yes, this is me. Ignore the glasses et al.
But that is a genuine 4-H calf behind me.
See that head? Solid bone.
Have I ever mentioned that cows have a head comprised mostly of bone?
Seriously.
Their head is 99 % bone. With a tiny little space for a walnut-sized brain.
Okay, well, that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.
Their head can go through most anything.
Fences.
Doors.
Walls.
People.
You get them running and I swear they could go through solid concrete.
And laugh about it with their friends later.
That head is a force to contend with.
You get upwards of 2000 pounds of hair and hoofs going.
With a battering ram for a head and anything is possible.
And we puny little humans have to deal with these animals.
On a daily basis.
You want to talk about bravery?
True statistic: Dairy bulls kill more people annually than the grizzly bear.
Mind you, Dairy bulls usually have sharp, pointy things on that solid-bone head.
How can we make the situation just a bit more dangerous?
Put sharp, pointy things on it.
Where was I?
Oh yes.
Cow heads.
And puny humans.
On to my story . . .
Every fall, the eldest siblings in the Stringam household would happily show up for the organizational meeting of the Milk River 4-H Beef Club.
It was a highlight of the year.
They would then go out to the corral with Dad and choose a suitable calf to register in said club.
Then the work started.
I should mention here, that I never really got involved in the whole ‘work’ part of the scenario.
That’s what brothers are for.
Moving on . . .
My oldest sister, Chris was a lot more ‘hands-on’ than her younger sibling.
So to speak.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
She would go out and wash her calf.
Talk to it.
Put a halter on it and attempt to drag it around.
It was while attempting this last that she came to grief.
And pain.
Chris had been trying to train her calf to lead. An important skill when you plan to have the animal in a show ring.
The calf wasn’t cooperating.
Chris pulled and pushed.
The calf also pulled and pushed.
In the opposite direction.
Chris became frustrated. In an attempt to get the animal’s attention, she shaped her hand into the patented, TV-approved karate hold and . . . chopped.
Remember what I said about solid bone?
That would apply here.
Chris heard the satisfying *crunch* of pro-activity.
For a brief (very brief) moment, she thought, ‘Ha! Got you!’
Then the pain started.
Chris spent the next weeks in a cast to her elbow. Cursing the thick-headedness of cattle in general.
And her 4-H calf in particular.
We thought it was funny.
We never let her know, though.
Because ironically, though that hand, cast-less, couldn’t make much of a dent in a solid bone calf head, that same hand, cast-ed, was a weapon of world class destruction.
Just FYI.

9 comments:

  1. Well, you know, aside from the pain, it IS kind of funny, but don't tell her I said so ... and Chris, if you are reading, I didn't say that ...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Ouch.
    I suppose you would have to declare it a draw.
    A question. Our country shows have something called 'hoof and hook' exhibits. The cattle are first exhibited trotting around the ring and the their carcass is also shown. Something I always had difficulties with.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Do you have something similar was the question I meant to ask?

      Delete
    2. No. Forgive me, but it sounds like it would be something that would freak out children and most other people as well. We do a lot of exhibiting, but live animal only.

      Delete
    3. No forgiveness necessary. It freaks me out too. It is promoted as a way to ensure that people know where their meat comes from. Which I understand. BUT.

      Delete
  3. Ouch! If I had been raised on a ranch, I may have had to have been a rebel, because my love is chickens.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chickens are scary! But that is another story...

      Delete

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