Thursday, February 15, 2007

I've been moping

With a few exceptions, I've always tried to post about things that make me happy like daffodils, books, perfect food, nature, and baby calves, because the news is filled with traumatic events and the horrors of war, and controversy is everywhere, yet if I take the time to look around I can always find something to make me smile. Sharing the smile makes me smile, too. Yet, sometimes stuff happens and I lose my ability to focus on the happy. That is where I have been.

My husband was away on business, again. He called and suggested that I move the cows in the pecan orchard to the "back forty." It isn't really 40 acres, more like 60 or 80 but back forty sounds better. I rearranged the gates to the corral and opened the bottom gap and the cows went over and I closed the gate. I didn't walk over and check the pasture. What I didn't know was that my husband and some workers left coils of barbed wire in the pasture. A cow got tangled in the wire and died. It wasn't just any cow. It was Crip.

Crip is the cow that got hurt in Katrina when some tin blew off the barn. We doctored her here and turned her out with the others. She just didn't get better, so we took her to the vet. There had been a nail in her hoof that my husband missed when he has treating the other injuries. She had a serious infection. They super glued a block to her foot and loaded her with antibiotics. She stayed away from the herd for 6 months. She came back home and we missed seeing a hoof problem caused by the block of wood. We treated her again. Finally because of the wood block and the long hoof she developed a bad knee, but she was alright. We had Dr. P. look at her a few weeks ago because her limping seemed worse. She was pregnant and the extra weight made it difficult for her to get up and move around in the cold.

Why? you ask yourself did y'all not sell that cow? We felt guilty because we didn't feel like we had been good care-givers. We just kept dropping the ball, over and over and over.

And I dropped it, again. I didn't check the cows the morning after I let them in that pasture. I knew they had hay, water, and grass, so I didn't rush out and count and study. I didn't know there was a problem until Mr. S. (the man whose calf I am feeding) came by and told me someone called the hardware and told them I had a cow down. By then, it was too late. I thought about trying to do a Cesarean to save the calf, but I thought what further humiliation can we inflict on this cow. So we just untangled the wire and buried her.

I picked up the coils of wire left next to the fence and draped them over the fence post at the entrance of the first pasture so that we will have to look at them every time we see the cows.

Farm life deals its share of death, and I do all right with death due to natural or accidental causes, but I just can't shake the feeling that we were poor managers as far as this cow was concerned and I am sad about that.


JoVE said...

What an odd life it would be if we weren't sad some of the time. February does it to lots of people and it seems like you have some good reasons to be sadder than usual.

But don't beat yourself up about what happened. It was a mistake. You have identified it and taken responsibility for it. What happened is in the past. We can't change the past but we can learn from it.

You would be bad managers if you didn't learn from your mistakes; if you were arrogant and unfeeling about the consequences; and if you repeated them unnecessarily. But making mistakes is part of being human. Forgive yourself. Grieve Crip. And then keep on doing the great things you are doing.

Angela, MotherCrone said...

Big hugs to you and yours, my dear. This is very sad indeed. I agree with JoVe. You have owned the mistake, and surely will take precautions that the same won't happen again. Next time I'm sure the guys won't let wires lying around, nor will you forget to check. It is hard when you all have so much on your plates.

I do understand your sorrow for Crip, and your anger at yourself. That is what makes you special, because you look at this tragedy from the animals point, instead of just writing it off easily. In owning the mistake, you take your power back to fix it in the future. My heart goes out to all of you.