Monday, October 24, 2011

The Call for Help.

Saturday, I picked up the phone to hear my Farmer's voice,
       "Get up to the barn, quick.
              I need help."


The hardest part about having babies, for me, was letting go of farming.  There are so many things on a farm that are easier to do with two people.  Because I had my children so spread out, just about the time I'd start to feel like I could be help again, another baby would be there, and I'd feel like I was standing at the glass door,
looking out,
wishing I could be out there helping.

Violet, being the oldest, has filled in the void for me.  She loves being in the barn and is an exceptional help.  Her strength and work ethic would put most boys 5 years elder than her to shame.  I try not to make her baby sit or do too much of my work any more than I have to because she helps her dad so much.  I know after being with me all day, nothing is better than for her to be with him, and I know he needs the help.

Still, there are times when I have to help.  Castrating the calves requires one person to hold the calf still while my husband does the castrating, and she's just too little yet.  So at times, I have to trust her to help out with watching Lillie and keeping track of Levi while I help.
For the most part, I try to fit those times in when Lillie is napping.
It was after the evening feeding of the cows, as I was starting to get supper ready, that I got that call.  "Get up here to the barn with some baking soda.  One of these calves is kicking it's sides and then dropping and rolling on the ground."  I set the pan on the counter, grabbed my jacket and pulled on my boots, passing Violet on my way out.  "Which cow is it?"
  "It's Little Fawn.  I saw him.  He was walking really weird and then kicking himself when I put the grain in to feed them.  What's the matter with him?  Is he going to die?" Fear was in her eyes.

  "I don't know; we'll have to see what we can do.  Lillie should be awake any minute.  You can give her a cheese stick to hold her over til I get down and make supper."
  When I got to the pasture, I could immediately see the calf.  He was breathing heavily and acting as they had said.  My farmer got the halter and some grain, and as they all came to the trough for the grain, he pounced on the calf and I tried to loop the halter over his head.  Little Fawn didn't like it, but we struggled and tied him to the fence.  We looked at him and tried to figure out what was going on.  While my husband went to get what he needed, I spoke gently to the calf and rubbed him to calm him and try to see if I could feel anything unusual.  He gave in to the gentle massaging, and began to close his eyes as he waited.
  Looking down the hill to the house, I could see Violet as she came out on the porch with Lillie in her arms.  "She's awake," she yelled.  "I gave her a cheese stick.  How is the calf?"  I responded that I didn't know as my husband came with the tubing and the bottle of baking soda mixed with water.  He decided we'd run the tubing down his throat to see if we could release some of the air if he was bloated.  I grabbed the calf's tail, trying to ignore the consequences I received by this action, knowing the calf needed to be still as my Farmer carefully maneuvered the tubing down his throat. The sun lowered in the sky, and the minutes ticked by.  I could hear bubbles shifting in the belly of the calf as I leaned over him, rubbing his sides and belly, trying to make us both feel better about this whole process.  He seemed calmer now, and I hoped that these noises meant something was working.  My farmer then removed the tubing and got the baking soda water in the bottle; we tried to help him take the mixture.  With each swallow, I could hear the rumblings of his belly, like a frog deep in the hollow of an old log.  We weren't sure we were helping him, but inwardly prayed we wouldn't lose him.  When it was done, I realized that some time had passed, and I knew the boy and baby in the house were probably well beyond hungry by this point.  We watched the calf as we set him free, and his gait seemed relieved.  He ran off with the others, and we hoped we'd done enough to help him.  The morning would tell.

  After I'd washed my hands, I headed to the house.  Supper thoughts were resurrected, and I wondered what I'd find going on in the house.

  There are times in life when I've wondered if unhurried, non demanding simplicity would ever return to my life: the life of constantly being needed and called for moment after moment.  It's hard to see out of that fog sometimes.  The regularity of picking up messes, kissing boo-boos, managing petty arguments, and avoiding overall catastrophe keeps the mind in a state of perpetual high alert.

Mothers who are older, or have already passed through this stage,
tell me it passes quickly.

When you're in it, "quickly" is a concept that doesn't seem to exist;

...but I saw it.  I saw the beginning of that truth.

  As I stepped into the kitchen,
      I was greeted by this scene:

 I heard little voices in crunching conversation
about pillow pets
and napping napper toys.

 Little people
enjoying each others company...

over a rather healthy attempt at self-sufficiency.

I couldn't help but smile.

You are right,
you who have told me so.

I am going to make a conscious effort to henceforth enjoy the "now" moments...

before they have a chance of turning into
"quickly passed."


  1. What a wonderful moment! And a harbinger of even better things to come.

    Thanks for sharing this with all of us. It made me smile.


  2. Its amazing how some kids just know when to step in and help, and great they chose a salad and didn't try the oven! You have fantastic kids there, a great credit to you.

    Hope the calf is better!

  3. Wow, what a wonderful helper. I do believe you are raising your children to be wonderful, helpful, responsible adults.

  4. I am impressed~Violet sure is stepping up and has learned from watching mom and dad how to pitch in when needed on the farm! She is a gem! You and hubby are doing a good job!

  5. you must have been so proud and so sad at the same time! growing up so quickly! soon they won't 'need' you. ugh!

  6. Aw! I got a little teary! I love your writing.

  7. Love it! How sweet that she just stepped in and did what needed to be done. What a responsible little girl!

  8. She's growing up and you are training her well! Love the pics. How is the calf?

  9. Oh, I guess I forgot to ad that part, didn't I? :S Yes, the calf seemed better in the morning. :) Thanks for the sweet comments. :)

  10. So glad to read in the comments that the calf was better. I do believe that your mothering instincts were picked up by the little calf as you massaged him and calmed him down. I love this story and the fact that your children took care of themselves. Sometimes, as moms, we need to let them learn to do just that. Not to ignore them, but give them a little space to just be. And your Lilly did just that.

    Have a beautiful day!!


  11. Sounds as though Violet is well on her way to becoming a fine young lady - What a beautiful and touching captured moment. And glad to hear Little Fawn seems to be doing better. Wishing you a blessing-filled week....Smiles & Hugs ~ Robin

  12. I was completely absorbed in this post. I have been in a situation like it many times. Isn't it amazing what kids will do? As far as the calf, I have heard of this with horses, when the get their intestines twisted or something. I hope he made it.

  13. Thank you for this lovely story. Ever think about writing a collection of short stories to make a book. It was wonderful, I'm sure, seeing your little people acting in such a big people manner warmed your heart, it did mine.

  14. Thank you for sharing that story. How great you must have felt to see that at the end of all the turmoil outside. What great kids!

  15. Thanks for Sharing! Enjoyed the tale!

  16. How Sweet. I remember my older kids doing similar things. They do grow up fast and my oldest is pregnant with #2. Time flies and stands still at the same time.

  17. So how is the calf?? This looks like a great moment! Your daughter seems such a great little mother already.


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