July 27, 2015

How My Medical Dart Gun Came To Be

Ranching is always unpredictable. There are ups and downs. We all know the old saying, "What goes up, must come down. I guess you could say that I came down today... pretty hard. I should've known things just weren't right from the beginning when I got to the pasture to pick up a sick cow and I saw huge scavenger type birds hanging out. Sure enough, there was a dead calf. I'm pretty hard on myself I guess, because I saw that calf the other day and thought it needed doctored but then I thought he wasn't so bad and gave him another day. I didn't look too closely at him and now today, he is dead. One other must've died earlier because we never found him, then the Ranch Hand and I doctored one, I doctored one on my own, this one died and I saw two more that needed doctored today. Determined, like I get sometimes, not to lose anymore, I decided to doctor these calves later after I got the sick cow in the trailer and moved the cows to a new pasture.
 I parked the truck and trailer along the fence and opened up the gate. The plan was to get her along the fence and in the trailer by using pressure and release.
 I spotted her in the trees and she moved along closer to the trailer but went down and wouldn't get up.
 I backed the trailer up closer to her and tried getting her in, but nothing would work. I stood beside her, doctored her and she got up. So I moved the trailer back to the fence and headed her that direction. She came to a shady spot 20 yards from the trailer. She didn't want to move. I couldn't get her to even budge, but at least she was still standing. It was hot, so I said a prayer out loud for some help. Not long after that, that crazy cow looked at the trailer, put her head down, walked right up to it and jumped in. Dumbfounded, but completely aware of what happened I said a prayer of gratitude for all the help I receive when I'm trying to run this ranch and be a mom.
 With 363 safely shut in the front of the trailer old Scout and I went off to move the cows and doctor a a calf. The plan was to move them to the next pasture, rope the calf from my horse for practice and for fun, then use the truck to run over the rope like I've done before. Doctor the calf and go home. I always have a plan, and another plan, and plan C, D, etc. Today I didn't need any other plans. Let's just say plan A failed miserably and there was no room for any other plans. From here on out you will have to use your imagination because there are no more pictures....
I built my loop sitting atop my very tall horse and started following the sick calf at a walk. He got the idea he was being followed. After a while I knew I'd have to get closer to get a shot. I chased him a little bit and Scout seemed especially choppy. He is a very good cutting horse, and has almost thrown me a few times. I'd come out of the saddle a bit but kept trying to get closer to the calf. Finally I dug my spurs into my horse and chased that calf down. We were hauling down the pasture, I stood up in my stirrups and starting swinging my rope. Scout was on his heels and I threw. I saw the rope go around his neck, but before I could pull my slack, Scout cut to the left... hard to the left. I didn't even have time to think when I felt the pain of landing in a heap on the ground. Actually it wasn't a heap, it was more of a sliding heap. With the wind knocked out of me I stayed there on my hands and knees trying to just stay calm and catch my breath. After that was done the tears started coming, not because I was seriously hurt, but because I had a freaking job to do! Two calves had already died and I NEEDED to doctor this calf, TODAY. I got back on my horse and rode to the truck where my cell phone was. I set up the water tank and called the Ranch Hand. Poor Ranch Hand. He always gets to hear me when I'm at my worst... Because I wasn't seriously hurt, I was a little mad. This is how the conversation went.
Me: (struggling to talk between tears and pain) Stop what you are doing, right now.
Ranch Hand: Why, what's wrong, are you ok? I'm pulled over off the side of the road.
Me: I came off my horse.
Ranch Hand: Are you OK?! What happened?!
Me: Let me tell you something right now. I've wanted a medical dart gun for a while now. I want you to stop what you are doing and order me one right this very instant or I am QUITTING. I will walk away from this job this very minute!
Ranch Hand: Are you alright, where are you hurt? I'm turning around right now and coming home. Don't do anything else, I will do it when I get there.

There was a little more than that, but you get the gist. When he walked through the door I had sort of an "I'm sorry I was so ornery" lunch for him. And he had a medical dart gun.  :)

We went out together and found another one that needed doctored so he shot one and I shot the other. The dart guns are actually not as simple as they seem. Just loading them is a process. But I'm very happy to have one to doctor calves when it can't wait. And that's how I earned my medical dart gun! A little painful, but what the heck....


  1. You guys make a great story! I'm sorry but I kinda chuckled when you said you had an I'm sorry lunch and he had the dart gun... sure love you sis!

    1. That's ok, it was kinda funny. I'm feeling sore now though. Tomorrow ought to be a joy... Love you too... one of my sisters.... :)


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