Thursday, March 7, 2013

Somehow I’ve been roped back into wrangling cows.

Not sure how it happened, but last week I became the spotter for all the baby calves born on the Hillman ranch. The last few years, I managed to wriggle out of the responsibility around the farm because I had a full-time job, but now that I’m working from home, I’ve got a sneaky suspicion that my skills are going to be put to use again.

I grew up on a dairy farm, worked cows, put up hay in the summer, bush hogged, helped my daddy rebuild tractors, delivered calves, whatever our hands found to do, we did it. I even had aspirations of becoming a vet, until I passed out watching our vet perform major surgery. I know the difference between a crescent wrench and a reversible ratchet, and how to back a 30’ Gooseneck trailer up to the chute.

With such an impressive resume, it’s no wonder My Cowboy picked me when he was looking for a wife. Hmmmm, I wonder… Oh, well, after all these years it’s too late to ask now, isn’t it? So, after spending our first anniversary in the hay field, I got wise. I raised two strapping boys with the intention of not being My Cowboy’s sidekick in my dotage.


Where’s a strapping cowboy and his offspring when you need ‘em? And when it’s cold weather too!

Grumbling and complaining about the cold and cowboys on the lam is pretty pointless when cows are dropping calves and they might be in trouble. So this week, I kept an eye on the cows and spotted a set of twins! Thank goodness they arrived without fanfare, and Big Mama didn’t need My Cowboy to come riding in astride the big red truck to save her babies.

The next day I went to check on a yellow cow (you can see her in the background) expected to give birth any minute. Good thing I did because I found this little newborn feller hip deep in ooey-gooey black mud. I knew I couldn’t get close enough in the 4-wheel drive truck to rescue him, and I didn’t want to risk the wrath of his mama by wading out into the mud (not to mention losing my boots!) without a buffer zone, so I rushed back to the house and got a 4-wheeler.

I pulled the 4-wheeler right up to him and wrestled him free, then with one eye on Big Mama, I crawfished the 4-wheeler backward hauling him with me until we were clear of the mud. I didn’t take time to get my good camera, but did take a shot of him with my phone after I’d pulled him from the goo. And, I’m happy to say that I spotted him later up and nursing, so all is well.

So, how does all this relate to writing? I write historical fiction, mostly westerns, mostly about cowboys and cowgirls taming the land and the animals around them. My gut instinct was to try to wrestle that 40 lb muddy, stinky calf onto the 4-wheeler with me and bring him to the house and clean him up. But it wasn’t overly cold (about 40 degrees), it wasn’t raining, and it was daylight.

Against a mama’s instinct, but natural to a rancher, I left him right there and got out of Dodge. As soon as I moved away, Big Mama moved in and started nuzzling her baby, cleaning, protecting, and warming him with her tongue. Pretty soon he was on his feet filling his belly with his first milk, which he needed more than me taking him away from his mama.

I write what I know, and that’s farming and ranching, and driving jacked-up trucks and big tractors, but I did miss the horse and buggy in one area… I should’ve had more kids.
Pam is thrilled to announce the release of her second novel,

To celebrate, Pam is giving away two eReaders
(choice of Kindle Wi-Fi, 6" Display, or Nook Simple Touch)
Two Winners: One on facebook. One through Pam’s Newsletter.

Registering both places is not required but will double your chances of winning. Also keep in mind that you will receive updates more often being connected on facebook than through the newsletter. Just sayin’

Contest runs from January 1st until March 31st, 2013.

And....that’s not all! There will be prizes offered randomly throughout the tour.

(3 Pewter Bookmarks from Deirdre’s Handmade Jewelry PLUS 40% off coupon at Deirdre’s online store. Click link to register and for coupon code)

March 6th: Charity Lyman

March 8th: Nora St. Laurent


  1. What a fun, lovely article, Pam! Thank you so much for being our guest on The Borrowed Book.

  2. Happy to be here! And thankful all baby calves seem to be doing well this morning. :)

  3. Pam, I love this. You do have a rancher's heart for sure. So glad your calves are doing well, great job on the rescue. I'd love to read you books. Thanks for sharing this guest post. What a great post.

  4. Mystic Mom, all the calves seem to be doing fine, thank goodness. :) Haven't heard of any problems this morning.

    Thanks for stopping by and hope you get a chance to read one of my books. Stay in touch!

  5. Love this, Pam! I miss farm life ... sometimes. ;-D Seriously, there's nothing like it. Thanks for sharing!


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