This time of year, things at our ranch are pretty hectic. Calving season is in full swing and is going well so far, but every calving season brings at least one memorable story.
This year, my story is one of the time a heifer decided to put me in a bale ring. That particular day, that heifer, prior to calving, made me ever so thankful for technology. As she circled the bale ring like a rabid dog, making it next to impossible to make a safe, let alone graceful, exit, I did what I always do when I’m in a pickle: I dialed 1-800-BUBBA. As always, Taylor, my nephew, who we affectionately refer to as “Bubba,” came to the rescue.
Six hours later, she had a new baby on the ground and became even more protective than the afternoon when she held me captive. I was still first on her most wanted list until the next day when Bubba came up to put her back in the barn with her beloved baby. I managed to get her out of the barn that morning before I left for Fargo.
When I left, Bubba had been out gathering a few of last fall’s bales in the neighbor’s hay land. He had the windows of the loader open to enjoy the warm spring breeze. With the warm air rolling through the cab, he picked up a bale and, quicker than you can say &*%@! (please insert your expletive of choice here) a newly awakened mama skunk jumped from under the bale, pirouetted, struck her best ballerina pose (nose down and tail up) and sprayed the tractor. I did mention the nice spring breeze, right? You guessed it — the scent wafted through the open windows of the tractor cab. Now Bubba loves a good story as much as the next guy, so, of course, he didn’t hesitate to send out a Snapchat to his friends and call Uncle Warren immediately.
My wife Linda and I were sitting in the waiting room at Roger Maris Cancer Center in Fargo when my phone rang. As he began to tell us his story, the effects of Pepé Le Pew’s escapade began to take effect on my dear nephew. About the time I decided to put him on speakerphone, he baled out of the tractor, phone in hand and started throwing up energetically. The entire waiting room enjoyed Bubba’s misfortune that morning. So, now, we have a stinky tractor and a smelly nephew.
Once his tummy settled and he got used to his new aroma, he finished gathering bales and headed back to our place, where he parked his new, clean pickup. He knew better than to walk into Auntie Linda’s house to clean up at this point, so ever the ingenious young cattleman, he stripped his clothes off, threw them in the back of his truck and drove to his house in town. You know you live in a quiet little town when you can park your vehicle in the drive, look both ways and sprint to your door in your birthday suit with no one calling the sheriff! I’m not sure how or where he got cleaned up, but by the time he headed back to our place for evening chores, he thought the odor was much less offensive. Our new mama disagreed. When he tried to put her back in the barn with her baby, the heifer sent him back out of the door.
On a serious note, my wife Linda is done with her cancer treatments and back at home. We celebrated Easter with our family, and she once again has more hair than I do. We would like to thank you all for your thoughts, prayers and wonderful gestures of friendship and kindness over the past seven months. We are so blessed to have you all in our lives.
I look forward to seeing you all at the Spring Roundups, and I fully intend to make sure that my bale-ring buddy is in the group of cows that Bubba and my son Brooks have to brand while I’m gone. After all, they are much younger and quicker.