The Calf

Those of you who know us, know that we have a very small farm. Well, more like a farm-wannabe. Those who know us also know that we don't eat anything with a name. So, "the calf" was destined for the freezer. That's why we bought him, that's why we feed him, we have no problem with that.

Well one evening, Carpenter comes back to the house after feeding and heads to the laundry room. "Do we have any rubber gloves?" "Uh, yea." As I'm digging out the extra pair of Playtex Dish Helpers, he's in the medicine cabinet searching for the petroleum jelly. Uh oh! He tells me the calf is down as he's putting his boots back on. Half out of the desire to help him and half from a morbid curiosity, I pulled on my muck boots too.

I run down there with him and the poor thing is lying on his side stiff and bloated. He's dying. My job is to hold the flashlight and stay out of the way. No problem. I really don't want to go into detail about what he did with his supplies, suffice it to say it didn't work. Off and on over the next 15 minutes, the calf would get up and kick at his stomach and lie down in obvious pain. We had a call in to our vet, but he was on an emergency farm call and we were waiting for him to call back. Obviously the good doctor deemed a horse in labor with breach twin foals a tad bit more important than a calf with gas.

I asked Carpenter if he wanted me to call Grandma and ask her what to do. My children lovingly refer to their grandma as "Witch Doctor" because she knows everything about home remedies and old wives tales. Well, Carpenter said, "No, she'll just tell me to poke a hole in him." We've heard the stories of Grandpa running cows in the alfalfa who would bloat up. The hands would have to ride alongside and poke them in the sides to relieve the pressure. what?
Carpenter would press on his tummy, the calf would grunt and his eyes would roll. He was dying.
I said, "Ok, I'm gunna go Google it." Nothing else was working! I have to admit that usually, that's my first course of action. With a world of knowledge literally at my fingertips, why would I waste time and energy wondering what to do?? So, I'm just pulling up sites that will impart wisdom upon me about calf bloat and the phone rings. It's Carpenter from the barn. "Just come back with the peroxide." Oookaay...

I get back down there and the poor little feller is just lying there, much thinner, eyes in the right position, but really weak. Carpenter poked a hole in him. He said he felt around for the right spot, turned his head, said "Sorry fella" and pushed his knife in. (Yet another use for his Leatherman!!) Anyway, he said it sounded like a huge balloon deflating and stuuunnk! I asked him how he knew what to do. He said he felt around under his ribcage and found the stomach - hard as a rock and poked there. I asked if he was afraid. He said "The calf was dying. I either had to shoot him in the head or poke him in the belly. I chose the easy one."

So, today the little guy is freely roaming the barnyard, his name is Lazarus and we can't eat him.

1 comment:

Chris said...

I read your story to Hubby and we both laughed, LOL!

Well, after the tough part was over anyway...Yikes. Always knew Carpenter was brave man. You know, in a compassionate sort of way. ;-)

Love you guys...