Barely bigger than a full-grown Labrador, sporting a yellow ear tag, white eyelashes, and a temper that would put an angry rattlesnake to shame, and missing one toe, the newest resident at Prairie Moon Ranch is this little gem.
I’ve named her Dolly.
She was a gift from the neighbor.
My Cowboy called as he was on his way home from said neighbor’s: “You might wanna meet me at the gate. I’ve got somethin’ on the trailer you might be interested in.”
I throw on my coat that’s covered in milk-replacer powder, my stocking hat that the bottle calf has slobbered all over, and my short chore boots, one of which has a hole in the bottom so that my sock gets soaked every time I step out the door, and trudge out to the gate.
I’m sure one glance at my ensemble made My Cowboy want me even more than he usually does. I may or may not have also been wearing baggy sweatpants . . . I’m a looker!
And I had a cake in the oven at the time . . .
He backs the trailer into the loading chute, and opens the trailer door. Skeeter can hardly stand it, because she knows it’s something new and it’s her job to keep it in line from the get-go.
With a loud bawl, this little white-faced calf comes shooting out of the trailer and down the loading chute, bucking all the way, Skeeter running in front of her like the devil himself was the one doing the chasing.
It happened so fast, I didn’t even get a picture of it.
We put her in one of the catch pens, and while My Cowboy was fastening the gate, she charged him! She let out a beller and ran up behind him like she was gonna attack, but without actually touching him, she stood behind him and shook her head and bucked and fussed and bawled like she wanted to just kill him — this little tiny thing threatening the 6-foot-tall cowboy. We laughed so hard.
He said: “Yeh, she’s mad at the world, and thinks she’s big stuff.”
I said: “What are we supposed to do with her?”
“Well, Leslie said to tell you ‘Merry Christmas’ and ‘Happy Birthday’. He says if you can keep her alive, she’s yours and you can do whatever you want with her.”
“Does she eat on her own, or do I have to bottle feed her?” (Envisioning the battle that would prove to be . . .)
“She eats just fine.”
“What happened to her toe?”
“My only guess is that the bulls got to fighting, and ran her over. It’s healing up OK.”
As we’re standing at the fence looking in at her, she charges My Cowboy a couple more times. I said: “She sure hates you!”
He muttered something about typical female tempers, and I suddenly remembered the cake in the oven and took off for the shack.
Dolly will be living in the catch pen for a few days, and I’m going to see if I can get her tamed down some before we do anything with her.
It could turn out that I may have to start wondering about gifts from the neighbor, and what he’s trying to tell me . . .