I mentioned in the story about the New Neighbors across the street that I had no experience with cows. The only ones I have dealt with over the years were those that were not nice, like the bull that put my cousin and me up a tree. But there are 4 others that come to mind now.
When I graduated from Cosmetology School I moved back to my parent’s home to start working in a salon where they lived in Macksville. During the two year period I lived with them they moved to a house on the highway just a block from my Dad’s Skelly station. It was a nice two story house and all 4 of us kids had a bedroom upstairs.
My dad decided to start buying calves and raising them while we lived in that house. He’d buy 4 in the fall, that no one else wanted, with funny ears or other physical problems that made them not good breeding stock. He would raise them until they were big enough to butcher in the spring.
The four he bought the year I lived with them was really a mess. He kept them in the pen he rented on the edge of town about 2 blocks from the house. The pen had a little shed they could get into and both were large enough for all 4 of them as they grew. But this foursome must have thought that the world looked better outside of the fence and across the highway.
My dad got up early so he could check on the calves, put water in their tank and feed them before going to work. At least once a week while he was raising this foursome he’d come busting into the house and yell up the stairs “THEY’RE LOOSE……..EVERYONE UP!!” After awhile all he had to do was step in the house and yell “THEY’RE LOOSE!!
Eight feet would hit the floor and all 4 of us would be running around throwing on whatever we could find. Once we had some clothes on, no matter if they matched or not, we’d race out the door, jump in the pickup with three in the back. Dad would race the two blocks down the highway to the calves’ pen.
Dad would grab a rope for each of us and we would chase after them. More times than not they were across the highway in the grass that grew there. It was a vacant block so there was lots of grass to eat and was very tempting. One time we had to round them up in the cemetery across the street and one block to the east on the edge of town.
We’d each catch a calf and get the rope around its neck; they didn’t seem to mind us catching them when we came after them. They had made the escape and had their fun so once we had a rope on them; they’d calmly walk back across the street to the pen with us.
None of us enjoyed the early morning wake up call, especially in the cold weather, but the tender beef we had the following fall and winter was sure good. After chasing them down so many times we didn’t feel guilty about eating the meat, in fact I think it made it taste even better.
When they were fully grown and ready to butcher there was always three people who wanted to buy a calf for the meat. Daddy would sell one to each of them and he would butcher one for our family. The three he sold would buy 4 more calves in the fall and would pay for our calf and butchering it for our freezer.
During the time we lived in the house on the highway, Dad agreed to take a black Scottish terrier puppy from a couple in town because they couldn’t sell him. He also liked to take off in the early morning when mom put him out.
Mom woke us up several times a week yelling “HE’S LOOSE, DUKE IS LOOSE! He could break a log chain; well the links were 2 inches long, so a big chain. He never seemed to have any particular destination in mind, just blindly ran in whatever direction his nose was pointed when the rope or chain broke. Unfortunately we had the Scottish devil to deal with the one year Daddy’s calves were well behaved. To contact Sandy: [email protected].