Sunday, January 13, 2019

Sunday Morning Musings

A few inches of snow fell during the night with snow showers still dusting the countryside this morning.  As I made my morning rounds I paused for a moment to capture this peaceful rural scene.

On the way to the farm I helped extricate our neighbor lady's car from the road ditch.  While on her way to church she had spun out and slid off the road.  A good push on the front fender while she gently backed up was all it took to get her turned around and headed safely home.  Continuing to the farm and tending the cattle I had plenty of time to think about some of the things I have to be thankful for.

I am thankful for my family, those that are with us and those who have passed on.  Each one in their own way has influenced my life and made my time here richer.

I am thankful for the lifestyle that I am able to lead; thankful for not having to get up and drive a long commute each morning, thankful for the farm that my grandparents bought in the 1920's and retained while struggling through the depression.

I am thankful that I live in a peaceful country, a place where I don't have to worry about war or  paramilitaries invading my home, taking our belongings, and destroying our lives. I'm thankful for a warm home with plenty of comforts and food.

I am thankful for our good neighbors who are always a pleasure to chat with and who we can always depend on to give us aid and moral support during times of hardship.  And that goes both ways.

I am thankful for the career that I had and the various jobs that I held.  Each job and the coworkers influenced me and enriched my life.

I am thankful for the hardships that I have faced.  While hardship is never pleasant to go through, the hardships test us and teaches us to make better life choices in the future.

When I think of all the things that I have to be thankful for I realize that so much of what I am thankful for are things that I had no choice in.  These are things to be truly thankful for rather than proud of.

None of us chose what family we were born into, we didn't choose what race we are, we didn't chose what religious tradition our family taught us, or what socioeconomic group we are born into.  Not one of us had a choice in whether we were born black in an underdeveloped country, a mixed race person born in a so called shit hole country, or being so fortunate as to be a white American.

None us us had any choice about our birth but we do have a choice in how we live our lives.  We can either choose to be thankful for what we have and treat others as Jesus commanded "you shall love your neighbor as yourself"  or we can stand up, beat our chest proudly and vilify those who are less fortunate than we.   

Thursday, January 10, 2019

So We Need A Wall To Protect Us

I think back over the past couple years, thinking of the heinous crimes committed here in my area.
A man on his way to work early in the morning spotted a duffel bag lying in the road and stopped to check it out.  Unknown to him three people had placed it there and were lying in wait.   Upon getting out of his car, the victim was hit with a hail of gunfire, the perpetrators fled with his car and the few dollars he had in his pocket.  They were apprehended a few days later.  The motive was that the leader wanted to kill someone. They were all local people.

It was nearing shift change at a rural Pennsylvania Turnpike exit when an armed man accosted two tollbooth personnel.  While he had a plan to have them tie up each other they outsmarted him.  The male employee was able to disarm the assailant and run outside, alerting the guard of the armored car that had just arrived to pick up the tolls.  The gunman, unknown to them, had a second gun.  In short order the turnpike employee and the armed guard were both dead.  When the Pennsylvania State Police arrived they killed the gunman.   The gunman’s motive was to rob the armored car.  He knew the schedule, he knew the routine, and he was a retired State Police officer who had been assigned to the Pa turnpike.  He was also was employed as range master at shooting range in nearby Harrisburg.

A family living just a couple of miles away was going through some serious domestic issues.  One night it reached the boiling point.  When it subsided three lives were wasted, the wife and one step daughter lay dead, two step daughters were traumatized, and the husband was headed for a life behind bars.  I knew him, he was a hardworking man born and raised right here in Fulton County.

With this in mind, I think of all the post I see of people wanting our government to build a wall on our southern border.  Now I would be the first to agree that we do need border security and in places a barricade of some sort certainly is necessary however no wall will protect us from the crimes real and imagined that our POTUS trots out daily.  As Walt Kelly said over two hundred years ago “we have met the enemy and he is us”.         

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Winning the Battle

Two weeks ago I posted the story of the birth and problems with this couple.  At the time of the post the cow would not allow her calf to nurse nor allow milking.  Using kicker clamps I was able to milk her some that evening but soon she learned how to circumvent the kickers and fire away unhindered.  Resorting to a belly band and a leg rope I was able to restrain her to allow the calf to nurse a little.  However unrestrained she would kick her baby, knocking him back several feet at times. Concerned for the calf's health and strength I continued supplemental feeding.

By day three I noticed the calf was having problems walking and maintaining its balance while standing.  While I cannot be sure, I suspect that she had injured him with some of her blows. At this point I took him away from her and would only allow him contact with her while she was restrained.  Keep in mind that she was showing every normal mothering instinct by this time except allowing nursing.

Day six I decided to once again allow him to nurse without restraining the cow and after only a couple slurps she struck at him with a powerful blow.  Fortunately I was supporting the calf and able to move him out of harms way.  At that point I finally lost my cool!  Moving the calf to its pen, I opened the stable door and chased her out informing her as she went that she had had her last chance, (yes I do talk to the cows).  A few minutes later I texted my livestock hauler about taking her to market.  He soon responded that he would pick her up the following Wednesday, some six days away.

For the next two days I fed the calf while she spent much of her time standing outside the barn bawling and running frantically from door to door anytime I was near the barn.  Finally I relented and invited her in for one more "last chance", and this time she allowed the calf to nurse without so much as raising a foot!  Keeping the calf in a separate pen and only allowing them together for nursing over then next two days I was able to observe that the transformation was complete.  She is not only the doting mother but also the consummate wet-nurse.

Perhaps even with cattle the old adage, "distance makes the heart grow fonder", is true. Whatever the case the calf now has a good mother and her trip to hamburger land is postponed indefinitely.