May 16, 2012 in Life of a Crone
As I stated last week, this one is sort of a personal journey. When I discovered back in 2004 that I no longer was capable of bearing more children at first I was sad and very upset. I had hoped that I would have at least two children since I wanted my first born to have siblings (which I never really had growing up). I was in New Mexico at the time, and hating the heat, the being far from a major city or even town. I decided to start researching ideas for a business. I started taking entrepreneurial courses as well as going deeper into my pagan abilities. I found that I had a knack for baking and enjoyed practicing on those who were willing to be my ginnie pigs! Shortly after that I dug into crafting again. I loved working with my hands and even tried working with a router and lathe. Both I did very well with. Next my husband surprised me with a horse. It was a weanling colt. Those who boarded him for me thought my husband was crazy and told me (while trying not to laugh) to “see if you can put a harness on him!” Little did they realize, my father had given me lessons with horses while I was attending High School. Boy, were they surprised when I not only harnessed him, but got him to do what I asked of him.
By 2007 we found a place in the Midwest to move to. We packed up all but my horse, which stayed with a young man who really wanted to work with him. I was sad to leave him behind, but I knew at the time there was no place to put him nor could we haul him up without a horse trailer.
For the next 5 years I tried to convince at least one of the ranchers in the area where we moved, to allow me to help them on their ranches. I had wanted to have a ranch of my own since I started college, but money and lack of property kept me from going beyond a wish. Finally we were invited out to a ranch for dinner with a family who went to my mother’s church. I was thrilled! This rancher had a cow/calf operation and I was going to at least see it. I asked the man and his wife if there was any way I could help out. I practically begged, and he agreed (all be it reluctantly) to have me come and help. A week later I was driving out to his ranch.
My first experience with cattle was to pull the leg of the calf and keep him or her from moving while the man tagged them and castrated the males.
It wasn’t much, but I worked hard at keeping the calves still and calm while he worked with them. We took care of about a total of 9 that day. After we were done, he asked if I were interested in coming back. I didn’t hesitate to say yes.
The second time was a week later. His wife called and asked if I would come in early and I agreed. When I arrived, his teenage daughter decided she wanted to take the feet and I was informed we were also going to do branding. The women in town had told me all sorts of horror stories about branding among which included that the “stench” would make me sick… Funny thing about horror stories, they are just stories.
The first calf wiggled all over and he told me to move up or he was going to brand me. I told him my husband would be happy because it would prove I was his. We both laughed. By the third calf I asked if I could “throw” the calf. This consisted of grabbing the flap of skid next to the back leg and the front leg, swinging the calf up and away from you and once it is on its side, sitting on the head to prevent it from escaping. I had to do it twice the first time because I didn’t get down fast enough. On that day we handled 14 calves. Out of that group of 14, I “threw” 10.
I just got word that we have three more days, and he now “expects” me to be there to work. Not bad for a 53 year old Crone who had never worked cattle before…
Next a tribute to those who are our mothers and grandmothers.