On Saturday morning we took a family ride on the Ranger to check on the Fall calving heifers (cows having their first calf). The heifers are in a pasture a half mile up the road from the house, and a few of them have already calved. As you might expect, we keep a close eye on these first-timers.
We happened upon one heifer in labor.
Those are front feet. She didn’t look tired, or in distress, so we buzzed along in the Ranger through the rest of the pasture counting heads. I listened to Rancher talk about some fence fixing plans. It was a gnarly dry, hot summer, with only a couple of late August storms bringing moisture. You can see the frizzy pasture – ravaged by the 100+ degree heat and this crazy plague of grasshoppers. It was nuts. Trust, if you attempted a ride on anything without a windshield, you were getting an unscheduled snack. The joke was that perhaps as our cattle grazed whatever dry, dead grass the hoppers left, they were bound to get some protein from all the little buggers they undoubtedly consumed by accident. Funny not funny. We are still faring better than our compatriots in California, who are doing what they can to hang on through a sustained drought.
#813’s birth story is as uneventful as we can ask for around here. A couple of hours later, Rancher checked again and the calf was born and already on its feet. He kept his distance and let nature and the new mother cow do her thing. It goes without saying that a bit more was required of Rancher when I went into labor home at the ranch on a Sunday morning.
As of my last blog post in June, I was eating for two and just riding out that last, lovely trimester of pregnancy. I’m not in sync with the rest of the herd. I delivered RB’s little sister, Elsie Maria in the summer, in the middle of hay season.
On the morning of June 29, RBII was closer to literally being born on the ranch than we thought, as we cruised into the Pullman Regional Hospital Birthplace where she made her grand entrance about 20 minutes later. Most women would consider only two hours of labor ideal, but it makes for high drama when you live over an hour away from the hospital! When I realized I probably wasn’t just being a weakling and we really needed to get on the road (went from zero to runaway freight-train of labor pain in 20 minutes), I could hear Rancher clipping his fingernails in the bathroom. I fairly calmly (my version) informed him there wasn’t the time for all routine hygiene activities, and he said he didn’t want to hold our new baby with too-long-shop-grease-stained nails. Fair enough. When we got into town and passed the McDonald’s, he asked if I wanted to pick up an Egg McMuffin, and my response was not so calm (Sorry Pumpkin Bear! Sorry I called you Pumpkin Bear on the blog! Just, sorry!). It’s safe to say my sense of humor was dulled by the sensations of the final stage of labor.
A couple of days later, we brought our sweet little girl home. And we did a lot of this for a few weeks:
But now, she’s already cheering for the Hawks and Cougs, smiling at her crazy big brother, wearing camo and riding with the family to check heifers.
The original Ranch Baby is keeping it real like he does, talking in sentences now. He’s two years old, with the standard delusions of grandeur of a toddler. Exhibit A:
Rancher and I will celebrate three years of marriage on October 1st. And that just made me remember RB’s two-year well child check up is that day. Very romantical. While our days are filled to the brim with diapers and boogers and slobbers, I think I will actually look back on this season as romantic. We catch ourselves gazing at these adorable little faces any chance we can. I’ve never done so much love-gazing in my life. Of course, I might keep it up into their teenage years, just to mess with them. Because I’m the mom. And I can.