The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Greetings ta ever one in western Illinois and all readers of "The Quill".
We shore had us a nice little rain shower last weekend. Quite a few have finished plant'n corn and soybeans around these parts, so they welcomed the moisture ta get things started off right. There are a few wait'n ta harvest their cover crop rye into silage bags for their stock cows, after which they will plant a double crop of soybeans. If'n the ground dries out enough and if'n they get the rye put up in good order, they should finish this year's plant'n season next week. (The first time around).
Those fellers up north are be'n held hostage by too much rain. That is particularly true in Northern Iowa, but also true fer Southern Illinois. If and when it dries out in them places, those fellers will attack plant'n with a passion. Todays large equipment lets "em get very serious in their approach ta timeliness. Timeliness is important up north due ta early frost dangers affect'n late planted corn and/or soybeans. Down south timeliness on spring plant'n is important because of excessive heat possibilities at pollination time, which in both cases affects yields, dry'n costs, and consequently profitability.
Whilst at this time of year, farmers attention is placed squarely on spring tillage and putt'n seed in the ground in a timely fashion, livestock folk have additional concerns.
Cow pokes generally abide in calv'in time this time of year. Some fellers calve in the spring, some in the fall, and some in both. Some don't remove their bulls in a timely fashion and calve year around. As lot of cow folk look at calv'n as something ta endure with the enterprise-much like heel flies and manure management. Ta others there are memories of foul weather, work'n with cows in knee-deep mud, the necessity of pull'n a calf on a O. B. chain. Regular night-watch is important ta hopefully prevent loses' ta the "cow factory".
Most cow pokes wouldn't want ta miss out on calv'n, in spite of its drawbacks, nor trade the time fer a brand new four-wheeler. True cowboys (stockmen) would find it as hard to kick the habit of work'n with cattle as a smoker would ta quit cigarettes. They like watch'n them stock cows with their tight udders and round bellies as the season closes in on calv'n time and little fellers hit the ground.
It's quite a good sight watch'n a new born calf struggle ta his feet, sway'n back and forth, and weave'n as if it just got off a fast spin'n merry-go-round, like we used ta have in the ole one-room school days.
Finally, the new born calves search is complete when it nuzzles up agin his mama's bag whilst she licks it ta get the blood circulate'n well. As the little critter's tail begins ta wag ya knows it's a gotten the nourishment it needs and off ta a right start. That's a sight most cow folk relish fer they know it's another young "un off ta a good start. As the days wear on, it's mighty pleasen' ta watch those baby calves buck, butt, and jump as they frolic about the pasture and calve'n lot.
As a feller watches, he looks which ones might make fer someone a good herd bull or replacement heifer. Whilst profits aren't always as a feller hopes, calve'n time helps a person feel good inside as it allows a feller ta be in regular attendance at God's miracle of birth.
The boys said up north, there's a true story of a cattleman who weaned one of them calves at the proper time and the old cow didn't like the process so well. Right dure'n corn plant'n time she broke loose from her pasture look'n fer her newly weaned calf, compelled by her swollen milk-filled udder.
They said she traveled 3 miles straight west ta a neighbor's farm up north who discovered her and notified the owners. Together the owner, owner's son and neighbor started drive'n her back ta her herd of 200 cows on pasture. They were later joined by the neighbor's son and a third neighbor.
I guess that ole white cow didn't much like their intentions. The feller tell'n me said it became belligerent and charged the cattle herd'n cowboys let'n "em know she was not in the mood of cooperat'n. The cow crashed into a mounted 4-wheeler and gave chase ta some middle-aged men who weren't much in shape for run'n fast fer their hides. The chasers now became the chased!
I guess the cow tried ta cross a nearby crick and all at once it couldn't get out. That gave the men somewhat of a breather from the topsy turvy chase.
The boys said, after walk'n in the crick for a spell, over a beaver dam and ta a bridge gap, the old cow cooled off enough fer the owner's son ta kick off his boots, throw off his socks and jump into the swollen crick with water over his waist and placed a borrowed rope and chain strategically around the cow. Use'n a pickup, she was able ta be pulled out and rescued from the high bank quagmire.
Immediately out of the crick, the ungrateful old cow took off again, helter skelter, chain and rope yet on her, drag'n along, head'n northeast ta the big timber. The boys said by this time it was dark and the wisdom of the men was ta give up the chase until daylight the next morn'n. At night time, big timber mad cow hunt'n is seldom very productive and never any fun and can be dangerous. Plant'n season is no time ta get hurt!
Next morn'n at sunrise, the owner's son took up the search on his dirt bike, follow'n deer trails in the big timber till he found her again, stuck in the crick. She was upset by this time and in no mood ta be cooperative, and somewhere along the line she had lost the log chain.
The distraught mother cow was tranquilized with the help of a fourth neighbor and the cow was then lifted out of the crick with a tractor and loader.
She was placed on a wooden pallet that the owner's son had built, and strapped down securely. The pallet and the cow were picked up with a front end tractor fork lift and loaded onto the owner's livestock trailer and transported ta his home where apparently she's be'n nursed back ta health in their barn.
Can ya imagine how dull plant'n season would be if'n there weren't cattle around?
Reflect'n back on the situation, the boys said the owner's son sat down and scratched out his thoughts on the matter:
The Cowboy's End Of Day
The cowboy has hung up his hat and kicked off his boots
Now, he can sit and ponder his whole day through.
It was just an old napkin sitting' there on a shelf
Sit'n next to his Bible, boots, and belt
So's he can sit and ponder the whole day yonder
And jot it down for it "twas not somber".
It was a wonderful day
For he was amazed of God's pure wonders
For the sun has set and the moon arose
He thinks of his blessings counting them one by one
Till he runs out of fingers and toes.
He thinks to himself
For who am I that God blessed me with so many friends like those so honest and true
With family so love'n, sincere, and quite so near.
He gets up every morn'n to nurture the crops and feed the livestock
For a farmer like he is so blessed you see to be one with the land and the land with he.
For he knows you reap what you sow, So, he will grow in Christ you know
For that he died for you and you to live for him.
He was just a farmer and cowboy of sort
But what more should a fellow want faith, family, friends and farm.
So now he lays...pen at rest 'Twas just an old napkin sitting' there on a shelf Next to his Bible, boots and belt.
Well there ya have it then, some reflections from a 20 year old cowman who just had another typical day on the farm (of sorts).
I'm sure the boys will ponder this fer a long spell.
Hope'n ta see ya with your family in church this week worship'n the Lord and support'n an important institution in our community.
Have a fine rest of the week, we have much ta be thankful fer.
Remember, wherever ay are, whatever ya be a do'n, "BE A GOOD ONE!"
Keep on Smile'n
Catch ya later