Deb Ward, GWS, OWS, PWS, WSI - WATERCOLOR/WATER MEDIA - My passion is teaching adult “beginners”. Weekly classes in my home; workshops; classes for Cincinnati Recreation Commission. My work is nationally recognized and published - see “Featured” on my sidebar. I’m a Signature Member of Georgia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Indiana state Watercolor Societies, Cincinnati Art Club, past-President of Greater Cincinnati Watercolor Society. Contact info below under “Class Information”

Saturday, May 25, 2013


And so my day began – quiet, stretching before me with a list of “to do” items, the top one of which was to complete a watercolor drawing.

It looked like it was not going to be such a good day for my husband.

As soon as I got down the steps I saw a wallet sitting on the dining table – uh oh – my husband was off running errands which included breakfast at Frisch’s (a local eatery that is part of the “Big Boy” chain). Something told me his plan was foiled!!!! I called him and as soon as he answered he said “I know, I forgot my wallet.” But, turns out that he was able to run 3 of his errands AND have breakfast – one of the places he frequents (Bud Herbert Motors in Harrison, OH) gave him a $10 “advance” on his account! It pays to know people – and spend lots and lots of money on John Deere equipment!!!

After that crisis was averted, and following breakfast and dressing, I was peacefully sitting at the table when the phone rang – and it was my husband.

Turns out it was also not going to be such a good day for me – for I was needed as a chauffeur for him – and his CALF.

The little one was born a few days ago and since the cows are always in the field, and since we have lots of steep hills, and since little ones are a bit shy and hide in the grass their first few days of life, and since they can’t walk real well yet, this one managed to slide under the fence, down the hill and into a ravine. Mike had carried it back to its mama and thought all was well. Turns out, yesterday afternoon he realized the calf could not stand, but it was too late to call the vet. So he called this morning and spoke to the vet and was told that “pasture calls” were not made today and to bring the calf in. So . . .
The adventure begins - my son driving the John Deere Gator and my husband riding in back with the calf.

. . . he put down one car seat and covered all the back with plastic and a blanket. Then he and my son went into the field and put the calf into the John Deere Gator and brought it up to the car and transferred it into the back.
My husband and Sparkles.

My husband carrying Sparkles - remember, she's just a few days old!

Getting Sparkls situated on the plastic and blanket for HER big adventure!
The hatch was lowered, my husband climbed in, windows were lowered (although there really was no smell – little calves, like deer fawns – really have no odor – it’s a protective device until they are big enough to run with the herd) and we were off. I was driving very carefully around curves and maintaining the actual speed limit – which was a good thing because about two miles down the road, suddenly and without warning, a deer leaped out of a corn field and onto the road directly in front of me. Brakes were slammed, calf was slid, deer was avoided, and we drove on.

We arrived at the vet’s office in plenty of time and when the vet got there he brought out his protégé and gave him a quiz – he offered to buy lunch if the young man could tell him what kind of calf this was. The young man needed several clues before he came up with Red Devon!

Jest layin' aroun' a-waitin' on that Vet!

Princess Sparkles laying on her blanket (pre-examination).
We thought the calf had broken a leg, but as the examination (I’m leaving out the gross parts – and believe me, they were GROSS) ensued it turned out she has a septic infection which settled in her legs due to an infected umbilical cord. Several shots of powerful antibiotics to fight the infection, some vitamins, some pills and a small bowel movement (which was kept to the blanket, thanks to my rapid intervention) later we were sent back home.

We stopped at the shop for a length of plastic pipe, the other workshop for my husband to wash the affected area(s) of the calf (DON’T ASK) and then it was back to the pasture.
The first pill down the hatch (rather him than me!!!!)
This was amazing. The cows were laying down chewing their cud and mama Sunshine was farther down the field. Mike set the calf down and walked down to the mama – said her name a few times and said “come on” and darned if she didn’t begin following him – right up the hill to her baby. I didn’t get a photo of that because I didn’t think to have my camera out – but it was really cool to watch.

We shook out the blanket to be washed immediately, the plastic was burned, the back of the car sprayed with insecticide (DON’T ASK!!!!!) and left to air out.

At this point Mike has to give the calf pills twice a day – via the plastic tube! He inserts the pill, cut in half, sticks it down her throat, blows and down goes the pill! (I told him he might want to mark which end of the tube goes in which mouth . . . )

Ah . . . the life of a cattle rancher (and his wife).

Personally, I’ll stick to chickens.

P.S. - - The calf has been named “Sparkles” by my son’s girlfriend’s nieces – we hope she makes it.

P.P.S. - - Sparkles never made a sound and just laid there like the Queen of Sheba on her blanket!

P.P.P.S. - - I still haven’t gotten that drawing finished!


Jeanette said...

A wonderful adventure with a happy ending. At least for the calf.

Ah life on a farm, there's never a dull moment is there?

I hope you had time eventually to get that drawing underway.

Watercolors by Susan Roper said...

What a different day than you had planned happened! This was enjoyable to read about and I hope that Sparkles survives. If not, it won't be because of lack of loving care.

debwardart said...

Jeanette and Susan - so far so good, the calf is doing OK. I did finally get the drawing finished!

northierthanthou said...

Sounds like a lot of work. Hope the little guy is okay now.