Me: Danny (sobbing) I can't believe I left the gate unchained, the kids are so upset, Chris is so mad - what if he divorces me?
Danny: Now Jennifer calm down - if you have cattle eventually you are going to have cattle out - I promise we will find them and we will look back on this and laugh! And Chris won't divorce you then he would have to find someone else to take care of that passel of kids you have, cook meals and clean the house!
Me: (sobbing harder than ever now) Danny I suck at all that stuff he really is going to divorce me now this just gives him a really good reason!
I moved on to hog work with my wonderful crew of 6 kids -
Well I got to this point in the story last night and didn't quite know how to continue - this is the point I actually lost it mentally - I had not let myself cry to this point - I had been the one to screw up I didn't deserve to cry yet and have people feel sorry for me - but as Saturday progressed and just got worse - I cried - I cried a lot!
We happened to have a sow farrow outside in the last group and she had 10 healthy pigs and they needed weaned - in steps me and six kids - it started off looking like a greased pig contest - I actually laughed (I needed that) but then we had to get serious - I got the sow out of the little barn and sent the boy in for some piglets - the sow got mad - got past me - got to the boy, threw him into the barn wall HARD then when he hit the ground she started pounding on him with her head and tossing him around, I reached in grabbed him threw him out just as she clamped her jaw closed on my arm - seriously people I couldn't make this stuff up - it went from bad to worse - Cole was shook up and bruised but fine, I have teeth marks and lots of bruises on my arm - and once again my knight in shining "olive colored button down shirt with button down collars" came to my rescue (Chris) - pigs weaned, kids cleaning aisles in barns I went out once again on the 4 wheeler to look for calves - no luck!
A ray of hope - around 6pm a neighbor spotted them coming out of a woods - some quick phone calls - a couple 4 wheelers, 4 pick-up trucks and 2 scared to death calves and you have what you might call a red neck rodeo that criss-crossed 2 miles of fields and still had 2 calves on the loose 3 hours later and pitch black - called it a night again - I took 2 sleeping pills and still couldn't sleep that night!
The next morning I was back out looking and just about ready to give up when a neighbor (thank you Glenn McAlpin!) called and said he spotted them in his woods - I was done, I was calling in the cowboys - guys on horseback, we were bringing these calves home! We watched those calves for over an hour waiting on my cowboys to get home from church and load up there horses!
There were tense moments - the calves were in a fencerow under a tree and our plan was to gently walk them down the fencerow into the makeshift corral we had set up!
That little white speck is my MIL and kids keeping an eye on the calves who are hunkered down under that tree in the fencerow that still has all its leaves.
This is our make-shift corral 600 feet down the fence line to run them into.
But just in case things don't go as planned (because why would they) Chris made a corral at home that lead into the cattle lot - it is made up of 18 round bales, the 4430, our pop-up camper, 4 wheeler, gator, wheat drill, cultipacker, 4440, corn head cart, FIL's truck, grain cart on the 4640 rounded off with the semi and grain trailer!
In come the horses -
And the calves bolt - they run the whole mile and half back home with the horses in hot pursuit!
I saw them bolt sat down in the grass by the truck tire and
cried continued sobbing - about 15 minutes later my phone rang, they had run all the back to our house - we jumped in the truck and rushed home - I'll be honest from that point it becomes somewhat of a blur and I did not witness all the rodeoing that happened - ironically I was put in charge of running the gates at the barn so that when they did come in that gate could be latched!
What I heard happened was after the black baldie basically gave up and walked into the front gate (not utilizing either corral we put up!) - from there we located the little red calf had been hiding under a pine tree for 20 minutes in our yard while we had covered a 1/2 mile radius around the barn on horseback, truck and 4-wheelers - we scared him out from under the tree and in the process I saw my girls in the Explorer (yeah no one posses a license) take off at a rather high rate of speed to keep him out of the corn field rounded him into the yard bouncing up and down in my Explorer into the bean field where Chris took over running the calf in circles running the throttle with his left hand grabbing the calf halter with his right, drug off the 4-wheeler - at one point the story goes that the guys on horseback said they stayed back far enough because they didn't want Chris to hear them laughing - after he was jerked off the 4-wheeler apparently he and the calf were both laying on the ground eye to eye, a neighbor jumped on top the calf and they finally got him tied to the back of a pick-up truck - I pulled the trailer back to the field and we got him loaded up!
Now everyone is home and looking at the glass half full - after 3 days of everything being out of whack we just stuck all the calves in the same pen, fed them all the same amount and they all ate!
THE END AMEN GOOD NIGHT!
My barn is full again and all the gates are chained!