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May 10, 2014 | All In A Day's Work
Friday Night Lights
Our Friday night didn't consist of dancing until dawn or headed to the local high school sports game. Instead our night consisted of flashlights, headlights and calf hide and seek.
May 10, 2014 | All In A Day's Work
Friday Night Lights
Our Friday night didn't consist of dancing until dawn or headed to the local high school sports game. Instead our night consisted of flashlights, headlights and calf hide and seek.

With our animals on pastures, calving season is always tough. The cattle always seem to freshen on the coldest or rainiest days. A few will freshen in the barn while others will go to the farthest reaches of their current paddock.

Protective mothers hide their babies in tall grasses and forget where they put them. First time mothers will kick at a newborn calf because they don't know sometimes they need to let a calf nurse. One mother will be overprotective of her calf while the next just lets it wander away.

Our Friday Night Lights weren't at any club, game or bar....it was headlights on trucks and flashlights in hands. A first time mother had lost her calf and we were searching through pasture paddocks as the wind whipped through the trees. Small calves, like the Dexters, who weigh in around 35 pounds can curl up in a rut and it makes them difficult to find. 

I walked the paddocks myself in search of this newborn calf. After looking a while, a text come through asking if everything was alright. "Nope. Maude is missing." was the reply. Rich drove the truck to the field and we drove around and around shining the headlights to and fro. 

Maude is a third generation calf and the second generation born on the farm. This photo includes her grandma (tag #41), mom and her.

Suddenly, we noticed a truck at our house. This is an odd occurrence because it was later in the evening, so we went to investigate. The kind hearted gentleman asked if we were missing a newborn calf. "Yes, that's what we are looking for." He told us that it was standing in the road and had jumped to the ditch, so up the road we walked with lights in hand searching the ditch when a small little bleat comes from toward the fence. Shining the light up, there are two little glowing eyes looking back toward us. As I hold the light, Rich reaches and grabs the calf. To our surprise, it's much bigger than the calf we were searching for! We turn to say thanks and the guy just pulls away. 

One lucky little houdini calf back with her mother.

**If anyone comes across this gentleman, we would like to tell him how much we appreciate his kindness and would like to offer our gratitude**

After securing this newborn houdini calf in the barnyard, we went back in search of the original missing calf. After driving through the paddocks again, we noticed that her mother kept looking toward the fence at the end of the paddock. Rich went in search into the next paddock area and behold, there lays Maude on the other side of the fence! The little brat escaped under a spring gate. 

Loading her on the tailgate of the truck, we returned her to her mother and then it was off to get the houdini calf reunited with her mother. We knew she needed to drink and her mother just kept moving away. After getting Charity (houdini calf's mother) into the small paddock, we got her into a quiet spot in the barn with her calf. After monitoring to make sure that all was okay, we left them all for the night.

Cattle don't run on schedules and will somehow manage to find escape routes you never thought possible. We've been so lucky so far. I don't even want to think about what could have happened to the two houdini heifers that night. One could have been hit in the road and the other could have been trampled by the bulls.

Farm life is unpredictable when it comes to times like this. It's difficult and hard sometimes. I can tell you this....times like these become etched in our memories and become stories we share with the next generation. They are lessons in adaptation (because this fence issue sure does need some adjustment). They are lessons in gratitude and demonstrations on random acts of kindness. They are notices that communities all work together in small ways that mean so much to one/two people.

Looking back on it all today, we sure are blessed to have not lost any of the next generation and that is a humbling reminder of how easily things could have gone wrong. We are very fortunate.

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