Last fall when Steve's parents obtained their herd of Red Angus, we began discussing the possibility of the boy's taking bucket calves to the fair as a 4-H project. In the midst of the conversation, I (lovingly yet seriously) shot Steve one of those looks. Not the looks that can sometimes be mistaken for flirting, but the ones that clearly say, "You are going to be in charge of this, right? You will rescue me, right?"
I mean, the closest I ever came to taking an animal to the fair was when I wore an itchy wool sweater for my 4-H fashion project. And, all of my bouts of sentimentally driven motivation for learning about horses, motivation that was born from hours of watching Flicka and Black Beauty with my sister, were quickly shot down by my father whose years of experience in banking wasn't about to make a purchase that would end up on the wrong side of the balance sheet. Those are his words, not mine. What did a balance sheet mean to an eight year old anyway?? I get it now. He was right. Again.
I'm a new kid on the block...or road, the dusty gravely type, when it comes to cows. But, I'm open to learning, to taking on the new challenges that come with being a farm wife. And, I will stand by my farm man...men... until I learn the ways of raising a bucket calf. I think this lady could teach me a thing or two, but I'm not feeling up for lessons today, thanks.
Happily, praise the Lord happily, I have had a lot of help from Bob and Steve, and the boys are doing a fantastic job with every aspect of their new hobby. To fill you in on the details, I invited my son, Andrew, to share a little bit about his experiences so far....
My name is Andrew Husband. I am 8 years old, and this is my first year in 4-H. My project this year for the fair is bucket calves. My calf's name is Rosemary. She is a Red Angus heifer. The reason why I wanted to do the bucket calf project is because I've never worked with a calf or a cow before. I knew that it would be a new experience for me. Some of you may be wondering how I got my calf.
My grandpa Bob has a herd of Red Angus cattle. One day, my dad, my brother Ben, my cousin Ethan, my grandpa Bob and I decided to pick out our calves for the fair. We went out to the herd, and I chose mine because I thought it was the smallest calf. Usually the smaller the calf, the easier it can be to tame and train it, especially if it's a heifer.
Even though mine wasn't the smallest, I was happy.
After we took our calves from the herd and coaxed them into the trailer, we made a pen for them.
At first, I thought I would name my calf Dr. Pepper, but then I thought that sounded more like a boy's name. So, I just thought of Rosemary, and that's what I decided to call her. Most people think that it's a cute name, but I think it's a GREAT name!
Next, we began feeding them milk, fresh hay and water. Eventually, my dad said that they didn't need the milk any more. We replaced the milk with corn and a mixed grain called sweet feed. Benedict and I go out to feed them three times a day. It's been very hot so we have to be sure that they have plenty of water. The more they grow, the more water they need.
A few weeks ago, we tried to put a halter on them, but it was too big. So we bought the smallest size, and it fit!
The halter fits around the calf's head. It has a small chain on it that I hook a rope to.
The rope is used to lead the calves around. When you pull on the rope, it puts pressure on the calf's jaw so that they follow you around.
It tells them that you are the boss and they should follow you!
Rosemary lets me pet her, and sometimes I like to play around with her by putting my hat on her head.
It looked very funny!