We have a cow. A Hereford
With horns that wrap around
A big framed, well weathered mama.
That I claimed a friend in the corral.
She lost her number
And we didn’t know
How old or who she was
So during this here story
I named her “Mama cow”.
A couple years ago, she calved
And had a nice little bull!
But his legs never worked right
and he was lame
right from the get go.
So I started milking Mama Cow
in the chute there by the barn.
Bottle feeding the calf... Morning, noon and sunset
For weeks it seemed I tried.
She got to know me pretty good.
And Mama cow and I,
We had an understanding.
And she liked me I think in time.
She got to where I didn’t need the chute
I just found her in the corral.
She’d let me milk her and just stand there.
And she rarely did ever make me spill!
She knew that I was trying
To help her little calf
But he wasn’t getting better
And he died even though I tried my best.
I didn’t want to quit my old friend
So I kept her milking then
Hoping maybe we’d get a calf
and then maybe we could graft!
The years went by and more calves she raised.
She did a dandy job.
And she never quite forgot me.
As I scratched her favorite place
The corral, the pasture. It really didn’t matter.
She was always waiting.
But she’s definitely getting older and I can see it in her eye.
The Dakota prairie has taken its toll.
And this winter has sure been long.
Well this fall she came up Open.
And I was sad to see.
I didn’t want to sell her!
My old friend. It couldn’t be.
Then Dad said. “Keep her.”
He knew and Understood.
“We’ll let her live out her days on the ranch” he said.
She’s earned it for sure.
So I kept her in this winter.
Fed her a little special.
She’s getting grain and scratching .
And a nice warm place to lay!
Well this morning I was finishing up feeding.
And found her laying there.
She’d gotten pretty sick last night.
Now stretched out and having hard time breathing.
We sat her up as best we could.
And I had tears on my face.
So I kneeled and scratched her favorite place.
And hoped that maybe she’d pull though.
I think I know she won’t though.
Tonight is looking not nice at all
The temperatures is dropping and calling for ...45 below.
So I think we’ll have to go out and do the hardest thing.
Nothing lives forever.
And ranchers hearts do break.
God gave her to us to provide
But the lump in my throat won’t leave.
Yes. I know... “she’s just a cow”
The hardest thing about ranching.
It’s not the daily battles.
It’s not - not being rich with money
And it’s sure enough not the cold.
It’s the animals we care for
The ones we call our own
The livestock that surrounds us
That God gave us - on the hills to roam.
For as with everything in life.
There is death as well.
And our responsibility comes hard sometimes.
But character demands this call.
So I’ll say Goodbye to “my” old cow.
She lived a happy life.
She brought me joy and smiles.
And I’m thankful for this time.
And one thing I most definitely know.
I’d want to live no other way.
And Thank You, God for the lessons...
I learned from “Mama Cow”.
©️ -Rachel Reinhold - Lonetree Ranch
March 2, 2019
We have a cow. A Hereford