It all starts when Mike flops into bed around 3 in the morning and says, "tag, your it!" He then gives me a run down of how his night with the girls went. It goes something like this, "There is a cow in the shed that her water's hanging out, one that just calved so make sure her calf is up, and 708 is acting like she might do something so keep an eye out for her, and watch out for the skunk." After he groggily gives this slurred evaluation, he literally is out within seconds, and I am it.
I head out the door, dressed in the proper attire for a morning with the girls. It consists of a blue overall suit that is made for a male at least 6 feet tall, so of course it sags on me in all the right places. A pair of muck boots that I am sure will be seen in the next couture fashion walk, a pair of bright blue gloves (at least they used to be that color, now they have "stuff" on them that has changed their appearance), and some kind of stocking hat that I have stole out of one of my boys box. I feel good about myself looking so fine.
I then head over to the place where all the action takes place, The Calving Lot. I grab my big mag lite flashlight and go to work. First I get up on the fence and do a sweep of the light to see if anything stands out as being "nervous". If nothing seems to be acting as if they are going to pass something out there back end and would like some privacy doing so, I insist on going in for a closer look. This entails me shining the above said light at each cows dairy-air. I look for things like springing, bloody show, tail twitching, and then sometimes take a quick glance to see if their bags are tight. Oh, and if I do have one that is about to spring into action, I get all kinds of excited. I am a bit on the touched side, but I love it.
As the sun begins to come up, I get the job of kicking them out into the day lot, where they will be fed and can spread out a bit. So, this means getting a bunch of extremely pregnant cows up from their warm resting spot and kicking them through the gate. They let me know what they think of me as the all get up (very slowly) and turn the posteriors to me and unload what they have been holding in all night. The smell of ammonia is permeating and the sound of that many cows peeing reminds me of a large waterfall. But they don't stop there, but I will. Let's just say that as I follow them out through the gate, I have to avoid warm, steaming mine fields.
Why do I love it? It is glamorous! Well, alright, maybe not but there is nothing like seeing that new life hit the ground, the natural process (of a good cow) turning and immediately claiming her calf as she begins to lick it off. Then just a short while later, to see that calf get up on all wobbly fours, and start rooting around it's mamma to find a food source. It is creation at its best. I even feel good about myself when I can save one from complications, like the sack over their nose and not breathing. It is a miracle to get to see new life and I don't think I could ever tire of it.
There are a few aspects I might not like, for example when I watch the cows chewing on their own after birth, but I guess they need floss too. Or when a mean cow doesn't want you anywhere close and you feel them breathing down your backside as you try to drag their chilled down, dying calf into safety and warmth. But, you take the bad with the good and you make the best of it.
That is why I love to spend my mornings with the girls.