I rolled out of bed at five til 7--it was still dark outside. A short time later, I was cooking Granddaddy's breakfast. My one hour to get ready and feed the animals disappeared way too quickly. As I was rushing out the door to dash across the creek to feed my cows, I asked Savannah to cook my eggs for me and toss them in the oven (to stay warm, of course). As I passed Mr. Ricky's house, I saw both his and Mr. Tommy's trucks sitting in front of the garage. On my way back, I saw they were gone--so I knew they were already at Granddaddy's. I roared up the driveway (okay, so the Saturn doesn't exactly 'roar'), jumped out, said in essence, 'Howdy! How'ya doin', I haven't eaten my breakfast yet...I hope Savannah got it done...." *pant, pant*
Well, they laughed and told me to slow down and eat my breakfast. So, I dashed in (no, I didn't really slow down) and Savannah was just finishing my eggs. I cut myself a hunk of cheese and went back outside. I invited the men in, but they said, "Naw..." so I stood out there and ate my eggs...and got razzed about ruining a perfectly good breakfast with cheese! Neither one of them like it. Savannah came out and soon was getting the story on how we got our nicknames: "Little House" and "Rooster". I had forgotten exactly why they call me Rooster, but I got the story again...apparently, I remind them of the 'little lady out of Rooster Cogburn (or is it True Grit--I did a little looking and I suspect that's what it is). I've seen Rooster Cogburn and the Lady, which is the sequel to Rooster Cogburn, but not Rooster Cogburn (or True Grit), so I don't know who they are talking about. Anyhow, I find it funny that I got the Duke's name! :) No problems on my end--I'm a huge John Wayne fan!
We started by cutting all the calves out. I pushed them from one pen into the outer hopper, then into the small hopper. Mr. Ricky worked the hopper gate, Savannah the beef gate, and Tommy wormed them and then let the cows out through the squeeze chute. Savannah was going to count them, but she said she lost count at 16. Mr. Tommy said, "All you have to do is count all the legs then divide by four!" Did I mention that these guys are hilarious?
It didn't take too long to get the cows out. After that we started parting calves: 'beef' (bull calves), 'cow' (heifer calves), and 'let 'em out!' I worked the hopper gate for the first time ever. Mr. Ricky told me to get up there since I knew which ones I wanted--so I did. We ended up with 10 bull calves, 5 heifer calves (weaners!), and 2 'let 'em out!'s--both heifers, just in case you are interested...
Leaving the calves standing, the brothers went to fetch Mr. C's trailer. Savannah and I took care of opening up the gates. It seems like I did something else while they were gone--but I can't remember what it was.
Mr. Ricky got the trailer backed up perfect the first try this time...it's a tad difficult since the trailer is so long and the area there is to work in is rather small there. We loaded the bull calves and then wormed the heifer calves. I worked the hopper for that too. Mr. Tommy stood 'hiding' behind a post and when they would come around the corner, he'd shoot them with the wormer. The smallest heifer, a red one, got kinda wild like and got her head stuck through the gate and pulled out the post it was attached to. When she got her head free, Mr. Ricky held onto her tail til Tommy got her wormed. I would have helped there, but I thought I might actually be more of a hinderance than I help so I just stayed back--maybe rightly, maybe wrongly--I'm not sure.
Then--'To Market, to market, to sell a fat calf...(or ten)". We were seller #41. I 'helped' unload them. I wasn't much help I'm afraid, but at least I tried. When I went back to pick up the check at almost 5 (the office closes at 5), the auction was still going on. I cannot understand auctioneers...
On the way home, we went down a road I'd never been down (that's not exactly true--I had just never been on that part of the road!) and stopped at a little tiny convience like store. Tommy and I went in. He got himself and his brother a coke, and a can of 'baccy. I bought Savannah and I some water.
Ricky dropped us and Tommy off at his place so Tommy could take us on home in his truck while Ricky set up to work their cows. I offered to help and after exchaning cellphone numbers, it was agreed. We went home for a quick lunch. When the phone rang announcing that they were ready, we loaded into the truck and headed off around the corner.
That's nice little set up they have--definitely in better shape than what we have. :) Tommy worked the 'beef' and 'cow' gates with his feet mainly, sitting on a cross beam over the chute. I got to work the hopper gate and really only made one mistake--I didn't move fast enough (Tommy got it all sorted out at the other end). Part of the reason being I'm a bit short. Once I crawled up higher on the fence, things went smoother. They ended up with 8 steers for market.
Savannah and I then headed into town for a roll of hay for the heifers. Jose probably knew what I wanted when I pulled in because he was pointed in the right direction when he asked me what he could do to help. :D
After unloading the hay, we moved the hen coop. That was rather time consuming, though not very hard, because of the distance we had to take it. I did get a good leg work out, walking bent double with my knees bent a little. At one point, I looked out and said, "Savannah, we have a chicken out!" I've been handling them enough that they aren't crazy spooky, so Savannah didn't have much problem catching her and slipping her back inside to me.
Before I moved the rooster coop, I went ahead and aired up the tires on the pick-up so I didn't have to move it again later. They were all down about half. I called Daddy to find out how much pressure they needed, and he told me and also how to read the tire. I had looked already, but missed it. Guess I didn't look hard enough...
I then moved the rooster coop...before I did that though, while taking the 'stuff' out of the coop, I noticed one of the bird's right leg is turned practically backwards from the knee! I picked him up and felt the leg, I even tried turning it (gently, of course!) It didn't really seem like it was bothering him, other than the fact that he was gimping pretty seriously. I called Mom, but Daddy answered, and anyway, the general consensus was, "Well, just leave him be...he'll butcher just as well with the crooked leg--so long as he makes it." Quite honestly, he seemed totally normal except for that creepy leg. I'm really not too worried about him. The funny part was, while I was on the phone, I had one of the roosters fly up and get his claws into my braid...he ended up sitting on the back of my neck. Mom was like, "Get that dirty bird off of you!" I was just laughing because it kind of tickled. It really tickled when he walked down my backbone when I leaned over...
From there I went out to feed the heifers and double check their water trough. It was empty again, so I got my hands into it and scraped the mud and leaves and other plant matter out and sure enough--the drain hole (there are bathtubs all over this place) didn't have a plug of any sort. So, I headed back towards the house and I found something in one of the scrap piles that I thought might work. I took it into the house and tested it in our bathtub and it worked! I dashed out and under the electric wire around the runway, over the pen fencing, and put the thing into the tub (which I had been filling with water this whole time). I think it is going to hold.
From there I rushed back to the house, grabbed my wallet, and out to the Saturn...I had to go get the check before the office closed. I was afraid I was going to be late, so I drove like a (safe) mad-woman and got there less than 10 minutes to closing time (there really wasn't much traffic on the road). I drove a little more slowly on the way home. :)
When I got home, I asked Savannah to back the Caddy out to the barn and I'd air up the tires--well, she came out and started to get into the truck. From the barn, I hollered, "Caddy!" Then seeing she was confused (poor darlin' is so tired!), I yelled, "It's okay, we'll go ahead and feed the cows. Come on!" I was planning on feeding the cows anyway, so it worked out fine. It really just amused me--"Why is she getting in the truck? I wanted the Cadillac!"
Anyway, when we finished feeding the cows, she brought the Cadillac out and while I aired up the tires, she checked the fluids. I mananged to sneak the thing back into the garage, before feeding Snip and the cats. I didn't need to feed or water the chickens since I'd already done that.
I came in to find supper ready...and a good one too. After supper, I washed three meals worth of dishes (which included drying three rack fulls!) Good thing I don't mind washing dishes... ;P
What a grand ol' day! Very busy, very humourous in some spots (I cannot help howling at Ricky and Tommy--and they like it that way), and very satifying.
Did you know I like to work cows?