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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Birth (infancy) (08/20/09)

TITLE: The Roller Coaster Ride
By CJ Raney


I bundled up, for my morning routine, on the cool, crisp morning. I had already gotten the kids off to school, my husband out the door to work, and my day was just beginning. Don’t get me wrong, I love my life. I would have never thought that I would be doing all that I do. Being raised in the city is a far cry from living on a 1200 acre ranch, which is what I am doing now.

I loaded up the truck with sweet feed and hay from the feed room and took care of the show steers and heifers. Now, it was time to go check for new babies. There are about forty momma cows due to give birth over the next few weeks. When a new baby is born, we have to record it. Then, we weigh the baby and put a tag in it's ear. They are so cute when they are first born, trying out their new legs.

Calving season is so exciting, but is also stressful. The cows aren’t always on my schedule. Sometimes, they hide their babies and won’t share. I tell them all the time, “it’s not nice not to share.” They don’t listen very well.

As I drove around the pasture and checked the cows off my list as I spotted them, I still hadn’t seen Coffee Queen. She was one that should have had her baby by now. I circled around again and spotted her peeking out from the edge of the woods.

My anticipation grew as I got closer. Is there a new baby finally? I was holding my breath as I approached her. Sadly, there was no baby yet. “Girl, when are you going to have that baby?” I said to her as I got back in the truck.

After lunch and doing some laundry, I checked the clock and decided there was just enough time to go out again and check on my mommas. I drove over to the spot where Coffee Queen was at. She was pacing around in circles, so I knew it wouldn’t be much longer. I left her alone so she would settle down to have the baby. Looking in my rearview mirror as I drove away, I saw her lay down.

When I arrived home from picking up kids, I rushed out to check on her progress. She was still laying down. When my husband got home from work, we sat down to eat dinner. I filled my husband in on my concern over Coffee Queen. I told him I wanted to go check on her when we were finished. Of course I got the normal male response, “She will be fine. Those cows have babies all the time without our help. She won’t have it as long as you keep watching. A watched pot never boils.”

After dinner, I persuaded him to go with me. As we came around the corner, we saw that she was back out in the woods. “I think she may have had it.” I said, stretching to see if I could see anything. My husband walked into the woods.

I was ecstatic as I paced around waiting for him to tell me if the baby was okay. He came out with a long face and I instantly knew it wasn’t good. The roller coaster ride of emotions was too much. Tears filled my eyes. “I’m sorry, girl.” There was nothing we could’ve done. We rode back in the quiet cab. I know these things can happen, but it’s still heartbreaking.

The next morning, my daily routine started over. As I went out to the pasture to check the mommas again, I saw Coffee Queen standing on the edge of the woods.

I reached for the binoculars, not believing my eyes. There’s a baby! I can’t believe it’s alive. My first thought was, “He didn’t check that baby very well. It looks fine to me.” As I drove closer, the calf was much smaller. I was sure he said that the calf was large and black. This one was red.

I peered over the top of the brush and sure enough there was the dead calf from last night. I stood on the edge of woods and stared in amazement at the little twin nursing. My roller coaster ride went back up to the top again. It was a thrill to have my little Coffee Bean.

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This article has been read 368 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Anita van der Elst08/28/09
I enjoyed this story. I grew up on a farm & witnessed calving a time or two or fifty. Usually my dad brought the cow into the barn for the birth & some needed his assistance (I won't go into details here! :-)). Always a fascinating experience tho'. Cute names for the cow & calf; my dad used the alphabet & we all got to help come up w/names according to the letter we were on. Thanks for sharing!
Joy Faire Stewart08/31/09
Your descriptive writing draws the reader into the life of a rancher. As an animal lover, I enjoyed the MC's emotional attachment to the animals. And love, love, love the surprise ending. Wow!
Lisa Johnson09/01/09
I was sort of expecting the MC to become mid-wife to the Mama cow, and help a little one into the world,but the surprise at the end of the story was just as satisfying. Good job.
Joy Faire Stewart09/03/09
Congratulations on placing 12th in Advanced and 26th in the top 40. And all of this your FIRST week in Advanced. Way to go!