October 7, 2009

The blood has mostly dried up and fallen off the calf's face.  But she is so wild (and sorry to compare children, but so much wilder than Raspberry ever was) I am trying limit my interactions with her to fun things.   I have not dared a bath, a photo shoot, or even polite reassuring pats.  Eating is a fun thing.  She has been eating out of my hands and out of Riley's hands for a couple of days.  So I decided to clip a lead rope to the ring under her chin on her halter last night.  I felt like a low down dirty dog pulling a mean trick but it needed to be done.  The faster she gets halter broken and can be led, the faster she can have her freedom.  The idea is to balance tender fun love with tiny doses of tougher love.   So I lured her in with a handful of grain and quickety quick clipped on a rope with the other.

She freaked enough that I got out of her stall fast.  But she calmed down pretty quickly, as well.  I stayed with her another hour letting her nibble sweet feed out of my hands and trying to explain the situation to her as best I could.  She danced around her rope, trying to shake it off, doubtlessly wondering at the incivility of these people-creatures holding her captive. When I left I put the rest of the bucket of grain in her stall and turned off the barn lights.  Then I crept back in and watched her in the dark a little while.  She seemed pretty calm.  Her head was tucked into the little stainless steel milk bucket full of grain.

Her mother is named Red.  And the kids have been calling this calf Red Delicious Apple.  We might just call her Apple - her appellation, if you will. (ha ha)   Or Delicious, because she is.  Or, more likely, Rapple, because that's the way my mind works and I can already hear myself calling both cows in to milk.  

The kids and I were anxious to get to the barn this morning and see how Apple got along with her new friend, The Rope, last night.  We found her in her stall with her halter on, her rope clipped under her chin, and the little metal milk bucket clipped to the clip.  HUH?  There she was in the middle of the stall looking at us like, "Oh for the love of all that is sacred, what more must I endure?"

Ah, a muddle for me.  How to get close enough to unclip the bucket?  I haven't even hauled on her rope.  She is definitely stronger than I am.  She is supposed to drag the rope a few days, then be tied with the rope a few days, before I start pulling on the rope.  The point being the rope will always win.  The rope is mighty and has very little to do with me.  The rope must do its work.  I can't go hauling on it now.  The potential for teaching her how much stronger she is, is to be avoided.  So, what do to?

Work the system.  Lure her in with grain and make a lucky dash, get the bucket unhooked WITHOUT unhooking the rope.  And I did it.  I'm not sure how I got so lucky.   I slid back the big brass thumb clip and the bucket fell off.  She was pulling back so frantically, the rope stayed hooked.  And I dropped the rope, I hope, before she noticed it was me pulling and not the bucket.  That's right, its all the bucket's fault.  How did that bucket get hooked on in the first place?   And I wish I had gotten a picture: Little Sweet Apple out of Red, her first day with her bucket.


Joe said...

check out this list of southern heritage apples - you might find some name inspiration in there, too. If not, the list is still pretty fun to browse. http://www.applesearch.org/

MOM #1 said...

I bet that was a sight to see. I'm glad you got that "mean old bucket" off her chin. ;-)