Friday, February 19, 2010

Wild Kingdom

Who needs Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom when you live on the County Line? On an evening trip to check cows and calves with Randy, I saw a whole menagerie of animals.

The neighbor's lambs definitely topped the cuteness quotient.

But I also saw a dozen deer in a neighbor's soybean field (If I have to see that many deer I'd rather they congregate in a field. We have had more than our fair share of encounters with deer: deer and cars, deer and pickups, deer and grain trucks. We have been on collision courses with all of those.)

I also saw a turkey, guinea hens, horses, llama and goats - all within a 2-mile radius of our house. But the most unusual was a real live armadillo. The only armadillos I'd seen prior to our evening excursion had been roadkill.

(I wish I could take credit for the photo, but I wasn't that fast. However, it looked like this as it disappeared into the weeds and trees when we pulled up to check the cows.)

But the armadillo, deer and turkey weren't the only wild animals. We had an escapee among the baby calves.

I love watching calves kick up their heels and dance across the pasture. But sometimes, the calves can frolic a little too much for their own good. On our evening rounds, we discovered a bawling mother standing by the electric fence. Her baby calf had stumbled through the fence and into the wheat pasture. Usually, it's the older ones who boldly explore outside the fences. And they find their way back when their stomach says it's supper time.

But this was a baby born just that morning. So, it was time for a cattle round-up (or at least a baby calf round-up). I should have grabbed my camera, but then again, I probably wouldn't have been as much help if I'd been more interested in photos than escorting the wayward baby back toward its very upset mother.

We guided it toward the fence, and Randy urged it through. After several attempts, Randy picked it up and deposited the baby on the other side of the fence. By now, though, the cow was nervous and not sure about our intentions with her precious baby. She didn't settle down, so the baby darted back through the fence. Other moms got worried about the ruckus and rushed over to see what was going on. In the meantime, the wayward baby evidently was a bad example and encouraged a few of his little friends to join him in the wheat pasture. Randy again lifted the baby over the fence. He doesn't need a weight bench for his workouts. He uses wiggly baby calves!

Eventually, we got everybody back where they were supposed to be. Mission accomplished: Mom, baby, farmer and farmer's wife all happy.

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