If I were to rank our spring projects in order of importance, getting calves to market at the right time in order to take full advantage of market conditions is our number one goal. Timing the market is everything and it can have a huge impact on our bottom line. If the weather doesn't cooperate this can hinder our efforts to bring in what we need financially for the rest of the year. It becomes a fight against the elements.
A friday not too long ago was just one of those days. When I set my mind to something I can be as tenacious as a bull and my husband is no different. This was a big sale day and we were determined to get our calves to market despite the 12 inches of mud everywhere. I took a deep breath and said: "Ok let's do it!" Our working arena is sand but the smaller holding area that feeds into our working shoot and the space in-between the two was knee deep in mud because we haven't been able to finish putting in the rest of the sand due to the weather.
The day started out ok we moved our herd into the arena and started separating on foot the cows and young calves that were not going to market. Slowly we pushed the keepers back through the gate into the field. Even though this process needs to be slow and easy it is still a lot of cardio work covering a huge arena on foot and I have a tendency to over-manage the whole process because I get worried I am going to let something out that I shouldn't which will result in a firestorm of fury! Normally I would be doing this on horse back and the job would be much easier but my horse would not have been any help on this particular day which is another story for another day!
Things were going well I was happy that Mike and I were actually able to do this ourselves. It is empowering for us when we don't always have to rely on other people for help. We were getting down to mainly calves we wanted to take but interspersed with them were some too small. Those had to be pushed back out into the field and this is where it gets hard because they are young and start to squirt everywhere. It becomes a Chinese fire drill and we end up doing a lot of running and to top it off there was one big, white face steer that was messing up the entire process. He was beginning to make me really angry and after huffing and puffing from fatigue Mike decided we should push the final group into the smaller section so we could separate the unruly fellows without any risk of the ones we wanted getting out by mistake. This was a great idea except for the fact that once again I was going to have to guard the hole and the hole was basically 12 inches of mud!
This is where the day fell apart. I planted myself and tried to be quiet and rhythmic but that is impossible when the mud is sucking the boots off your feet. I did the best I could and was successful until that annoying white face charged at me, I lunged to stop him and stuck in the mud I fell backwards flat on my back! I mean snow angel and not the white, fluffy stuff, the thick, nasty, smelly primordial soup of mud! I was stuck and fuming and Mike couldn't help it he was laughing so hard he had tears in his eyes as I finally freed myself, mud dripping from the back of my head and coveralls, smears of goo on my glasses and face, total disarray! If you have ever seen the Drew Barrymore movie; Cinderella where the last scene shows Angelica Huston and her daughter getting thrown in the hot laundry water that is what I looked like. I was red-faced and fuming. Steam was rising off my brain and the stream coming out of my mouth could down a sailor. I was done, had it, over and that white face was going to be steak if he messed me up one more time!
Believe it or not we did finish. We used the tractor to pull the trailer in and out because the truck would have never made it through the mud. With no time to loose Mike re-hooked the trailer to the truck and took off. The crazy thing of all was his timing, he got to the market as they were shutting off the sale barn. He made it just in time with not one second to spare. Had we gone through all that and then would have had to turn around and come home with the calves there is no telling what kind of steam would have rolled off this mountain. Thank God for huge favors! At the end of the day we were successful and me.....I headed to the shower to cool off and clean off!
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The "not so Princess" that day!