Pork Chop

August 20 2015, fell on a Thursday, of course. I say this because it is the day I like to go to the stockyard sale and enjoy the aroma of homecooked food in the cafeteria. Oh, yes, real mashed potatoes, thick lemon merringue pie, meat loaf without the preservatives and real genuine hand grated coleslaw. Oh, yes.  Well, it is not every Thursday I get to go to the auction and check out the calves, horses, goats, sheep and hogs for the fun of it.

The morning auction usually begins with the eggs and vegetables being sold. It is the stuff people do not want anymore; like harness, saddles and tools, that peaks my interest. It gets more fun when the rabbits or guinea pigs or sometimes an emu appears. Now there was some fun. A big angry bird chasing those guys around the ring until they hid behind the boards. I wondered if there would be one there today. Next would be the calves, the goats then the horses. 

The auction was not to be my day, today. Our second shipment of four-hundred pound calves was arriving at one. It meant squeezing all the morning chores in. When the calves arrived, what I wanted least was in the mix of black angus. A pair of long horns and a black calf with four white socks; which was more than likely longhorn. There was a brown swiss calf the guy said was tame. Hmmm. We would see. It was walking around kind of weak. I started right off feeding the whole herd medicated crumbles in the grain for the shipping fever.

We were in the process of finishing the head gate and chute. The other eight we had purchased from the same source were all coughing. My three bottle calves were coughing and I had pulled them out just that morning. They were yet in my horse trailer. I did not want them sicker.  Again, the cart arrived before the horse. In this case the cows before the corral.

When the rest of the herd joined there companions one animal stood out as a trouble maker. A pretty speckled long horn with an all black front and a big splash of white shaped almost like a heart on his head. My daughter wanted to name him Sweetheart. I said that calf was going to be sweet trouble.

I drive school bus. It pays for the feed.  When I arrived home in the afternoon, my head was aching so I swallowed some sinus pain medicine. Ten minute break and out to check the new herd.

I decided to try and put some drench in the swiss calf, if he was as tame as the guy said. As we opened the gate to check the cows the same neighbor who had endured my first calf escape- we call the Porter House incident- pulled up in her side-by-side.

The neighbor inquired, “Do you have a holstein-cross bull?” I had to pause. There were alot of calves not visible. Great. This could be a thousand dollar disaster. Confound fencing and all the stuff that keeps me from getting it fixed.

So here we go. Up to the neighbors with a bucket of grain to play with a four-hundred pound animal that does not know me from Eve. Too bad the mare I just bought was in such bad need of shoes. I refused to ride her. I would shoot the damn calf first before ruining a good horse.

Bucket in hand and neighbors stationed to corner this contrary pain in the leather pants, the chase was on. Of course the bull calf bolts. Fortunately my daughter was over the bank and sent it around to the road. By the time I ran to the truck and backed down the drive I lost what direction the pair went. The neighbor pointed toward the farm. Head throbbing, I see my daughter and the calf beyond her in the middle of the road. Grabbing my daughter we follow the calf to the gate. Hoping it will go towards its friends it starts mooing, and walks right past the gate. Great.

Route 218 is a thousand yards ahead and traveled by semi trucks. Not good. Sending my daughter up the neighbor’s bank to cut the calf off, she comes down to close and away we go. Thank God a car came up the road and spooked the big calf along the trailers. My daughter has not quite got the idea of cattle driving. She plunged in like this thing is one of our tame calves. Straight over the bank it goes and down into the tree clogged creek. Great. Well, she did it, and it is her chase up the creek. The calf jumped logs and boulders with her yelling  all the way. She is cussing and swearing like a one-eyed pirate as she rolls herself over trees and crawls under logs. Crashing and smashing its way through fallen debris in the steep-sided ravene the bull calf finds a hole in the fence and gets in.

Meanwhile, I ran for all I am worth up the road to see the neighbor’s clan coming down on two side-by-sides to watch the fun. They stood guard at the weak fenceline as I dashed up the dirt road  to get ahead of the bull and shut the other gates so he can not get in with the horses. Now he is trapped. My daughter is coming up the ravine and through the hole, but has quited so as not to spook the bull again.

There is a corner pen, about fifty feet square. My daughter opens the  gate and somehow we push the bull calf in. Pork Chop’s adventure was over. The next thing was to take a head count. Everyone else was present. Swew.
Yah, Pork Chop. I could not think of a lower insult than to name a bull after a piece of pig meat.

Pork Chop went to the auction house on Thursday. I had coconut cream pie and meatloaf.

Author: cynthia queen

Living on a small farm just three miles short of the West Virginia border I am kept extremely busy with writing, working part time, remodeling our rental mobile homes and running the farm. I lived most of my life on the New York border in the Tyoga County backwoods. Our family has known nothing but hardship and scraping by. I bought this farm with the intent of bringing my family to a better place. In 2015 my daughter joined the farming fun. In 2016 Mom and my two brothers made it to the farm. I am hoping my writing will begin to supplement the income and make homesteading a reality for all of us. Now, to get my other daughter to come home and we'll have the whole family here.