All In A Days Work
If You’re A Cowboy/Hero

by Karen Ekstrom

The phone rang at 7:23 a.m.

“Kathy, you said you wanted to come. There’s a baby being born. But the mom – she’s struggling. Probably going to have to pull the calf.”

There it was… No ‘hello.’ No ‘sorry to call so early.’ Just straight to the issue at hand. But I never had any doubt who it was, Buster, our ranch foreman. His Texas twang was unmistakable, even through the phone.

“Great,” I said, suppressing a groan.

A quick glance out the window told me the day was as dismal as the weather guy on TV was saying. Cold. Sleet and snow. Icy roads and frozen overpasses. I, of course, was still in my PJ’s, drinking coffee. Hadn’t even brushed my teeth, much less put on my make-up.

“Give me 10 minutes to get dressed.” I started to hang up, then stopped. “Ahhh, where are you?”

“Pasture 4. Far west side. By the tank.”

I searched my brain. Pasture 4. Damn. “That would be the pasture by the…”

“Go straight south from the headquarters, go past the tank, up the hill and you’ll see my pick-up.”

His voice dripped with irritation. After 10 years on the ranch, he expected me to know the pastures.

“I’ll find you.” I hung up, not at all sure I would. Ran, threw on some clothes, decided against putting on my face. (Buster wouldn’t wait for me.) Jumped into the jeep and raced off to find him.

By the time I got there, Buster had already un-trailered his horse. Snow swirled. It was so cold that all the fat in my butt had already frozen.

As usual, Buster looked overjoyed to see me.

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“I’m gonna try to get her up to the barns. Things will be easier for her if I pull it there.” He said, as he mounted his horse and rode off.

I had a thousand questions. The biggest being – how did he know he was going to have to pull the calf? But, I knew better than to trot after him and ask. That would be interfering. Buster had a low tolerance for interfering.

Plus, his bark was a mite unsettling.

So, I took off after them, staying a safe distance behind.

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 With great gentleness, the kind I never expected to see out of Buster, he escorted her to the barns.

Seeing the calf’s hoof peaking out of the mother, I flinched with every step that momma cow took.

I realized she’d suffered for hours.

I stood silent while Buster moved her into the shoots and prepared to pull her baby.

Right before he began, he turned to me and said, “Now look. I don’t want you to hate me if this doesn’t turn out okay. If the calf doesn’t live. If Momma doesn’t make it. And I sure don’t want you passing out on me or anything. Okay?”

He gave he a searing look.

“I won’t. I promise.” I understood this was a life and death situation. I started to pray. I prayed that the calf would live. I prayed the momma would be okay. And, I prayed that Buster would be as good of a cowboy as my husband said he was. Then, I stood back and watched Buster perform a miracle. 

(WARNING!!!  Do not read any further if you do not want to see photos of this calf being pulled.)

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I don’t think I breathed once.

After it was over, I thanked God, Buster, the Mom and the baby calf.

The next day, I slugged through the snow to check on Momma and baby.

Here’s the difference a day makes… Same calf… And Momma was feeling better. Enough to make sure I didn’t do anything to her baby!

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As for Buster, he already had two more momma cows put up in the weighing station. Said, “they weren’t feeling good.” He’d already doctored them. And he was heading out to check the rest of the herd. Because… that’s what he does.

He’s a hero.

 

 

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21 comments

Jim Poston February 28, 2015 - 8:25 pm

Great we have to pull calfs , beef and dairy cows he was your hero on that cold messy bone chilling day great pictures

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Karen Ekstrom February 28, 2015 - 8:48 pm

I couldn’t have done it… I just stood there gaping!

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Terrible Poker Face March 1, 2015 - 10:34 am

I think I might have just fallen in love with Buster.

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Karen Ekstrom March 1, 2015 - 10:43 am

I think that makes you brilliant!

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Katiebob March 1, 2015 - 7:03 pm

Love this, Karen. Glad I missed the sounds and smells! Beautiful calf.

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Karen Ekstrom March 1, 2015 - 8:02 pm

Thanks Katie! Hope all is well down under!

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lois March 3, 2015 - 6:50 am

WOW; WHAT AN EXPERIENCE!!

I grew up around animals but never saw this before …………

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Karen Ekstrom March 3, 2015 - 8:14 am

Me neither!

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Kristi March 6, 2015 - 6:32 am

I have been around this kinda stuff all my life and Buster did one heck of a job. Cause more times than not you will lose one or the other or both. So that goes to show you GOD does answer prayers. Awesome job Buster you are a hero!!

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Karen Ekstrom March 6, 2015 - 7:23 am

It was truly one of the greatest things I’ve ever experienced!

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Kristi March 6, 2015 - 7:00 am

Karen, I apologize for not telling you in my comment above that you did a awesome job writing and telling about this. You also took some awesome pictures. Keep up the good work. I enjoyed it very much.

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Karen Ekstrom March 6, 2015 - 7:29 am

When I didn’t save the calf, comfort the mom or do anything but get underfoot ~ it’s okay not to compliment me! (But thanks anyway!)

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Steven Bredemeyer March 6, 2015 - 8:59 am

I have known Buster many years he is an amazing man and Cowboy.

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Karen Ekstrom March 6, 2015 - 9:01 am

Yes he is!

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Gwen Patterson June 1, 2017 - 8:14 pm

Karen, thanks for this lovely story. Buster is the son of my cousin. His dad is, and his granddad was, fine men as well. Buster comes from good stock! Thanks again for sharing.

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Karen Ekstrom June 1, 2017 - 8:28 pm

Hi Gwen, I’m delighted you enjoyed it. Buster is a good man ~ and he will tell you, this story happened exactly as written!

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Rachel Davis April 8, 2018 - 3:09 pm

I am so relieved the story had a happy ending! Fantastic cowboying and writing.

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Karen Ekstrom April 8, 2018 - 4:19 pm

Me too! Thanks Rachel!

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Maggie February 21, 2019 - 4:27 pm

What a painstaking job on such a cold day !!!! But prayers were answered and Buster was the big hero…beautiful cow mom and calf…so wonderful!!!!

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Liz September 2, 2019 - 5:07 am

I was not able to get to sleep so started scrolling through my phone and found you. Thank you for your blog!! I am so glad I found you and your Wonderful sense of humor. God Bless you & yours. I will go to sleep with a smile.

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Karen Ekstrom September 2, 2019 - 10:54 am

What a wonderful message to wake up to! Thank you! I hope you slept well!!!

Reply

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