Washing Calves … and Dad

Life in the Farm Lane

6/27/2014 5:57 AM

Two months ago, I thought I was ahead of the game. I had already started halter-breaking calves to be shown this summer. My mom already clipped a few animals. All the calves were registered, and everyone had all their ID tags in place.

But here we are heading into July and my local fair is less than a month away. Where has the time gone?

Last week, I asked my mom when in the world were we going to make time to work with show animals. It seems like every evening and all weekend long we have a different meeting or commitment. But after dinner that night, we headed out into the 90-plus degree weather and got to work.

With all the rain and mud lately, my baby calves were in dire need of a bath. I started with Chloe, the Red and White March calf owned by my son. Last year, my son was interested in the cows, but not nearly attentive enough to really help.

Last night was the first time he washed a cow (and I’m really upset that I wasn’t able to get any photos). He grabbed a brush, dunked it in the bucket of soapy water and scrubbed that mud right off Chloe. He was so proud of himself for being such a wonderful helper. And he wasn’t afraid at all, which was less alarming for me since Chloe didn’t move a muscle.

My mom then took Chloe for a walk to allow her to dry off before putting her back in her pen. My son of course helped, holding the show halter over his shoulder like he was pulling some massive load. Chloe could care less.

He still doesn’t have the attention span to lead a calf for more than a few minutes, but the hose is far more interesting. He helped washed the next four calves, but spraying the house aimlessly or splashing bubbles all over the place was much more fun than scrubbing.

Those hose aiming skills came in handy this past weekend when my husband and I were trying to keep our son entertained in the milking parlor. It didn’t take him long to figure out how to get the hose from its home and into his hands. My husband was the genius who showed our son how to make it work, which in turned into a shower for my husband. Mom was of course standing in the background with the camera.

Fair season and the extensive use of hoses should be entertaining for sure.

~ Jessica Rose Spangler, market editor

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