An old friend recently sent me a picture of the present his wife gave him for Christmas this year. It was a sweatshirt with a picture of a couple of calves on the front, accompanied by the words, “Sorry for what I said when we were working cattle.”

Bud said it worked great because he now just had to point at his shirt instead of spending time apologizing to his wife any time they were working together and cattle were involved. So… I guess I’m not the only one.

Shortly after Judy and I first married, we lived on a few acres just outside of town and we were raising calves for some extra income, and to help pacify my farming itch. My wife had never lived on a farm nor been around livestock, so the day one of the calves got through the fence and out onto the road, she thought she was being helpful when she ran along behind the calf when I was trying to drive it the opposite direction.

I could have sworn that I was cursing in a low, quiet voice, but evidently the wind carried it just right for her to hear, and understand every word.

“Don’t you ever talk to me like that again,” she bellowed, as she stormed by me on her way back to the house.

A couple of years later, we had moved out to the farm, where we still live, and were running several cow/calf pairs. Judy had never worked with me while processing cattle through a chute, so she was eager to show me that she could do anything I could. Again, with her lack of experience, I was a bit skeptical, but I figured having a nurse along while vaccinating and castrating could be a good thing.

The first animal in the chute was a heifer calf, so I drew the proper dosage of vaccine into a disposable syringe and showed her where and how to inject it into the critter. As we captured a second heifer, Judy asked me where to find a new syringe and I told her to use the same one we just used on the last calf. Then, her nurse’s training kicked in.

“You can’t use the same needle on another calf,” she exclaimed. “You’ll cause an infection!”

I assured her that it would be all right because I had been doing this for 30 years, with no problems.

“It’s not like we’re working in a sterile environment,” I added.

A bit perturbed, she asked, “Well, when do you change needles?”

“When that one gets dull,” I answered. In retrospect, I should have changed the tone of my voice, but she stayed… for another calf. The next calf in was a little bull that needed an extra procedure beyond the shot of vaccine.

I showed my wife how to apply the “tail hold” that would render the animal almost motionless while I performed the procedure. She just nodded that she understood. I began, but was immediately kicked in the head. When I regained my composure, I shook my head a little and stared straight at her.

What I meant to say, was, “Honey, I think you need to hold the tail tighter,” but what came out, was, “@#$%, hold the &%$# tail tighter!!!”

Jerry CrownoverEditorial / OpinionsJerry Crownover,Judy,Life is Simple,working cowsAn old friend recently sent me a picture of the present his wife gave him for Christmas this year. It was a sweatshirt with a picture of a couple of calves on the front, accompanied by the words, “Sorry for what I said when we were working cattle.” Bud said...The Ozarks' most read farm newspaper, reaching more than 58,000 readers in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma