Being Me

Part of what makes being me is my individuality when it comes to cattle. I love cows. It doesn’t matter what breed…although I do prefer those brown-eyed Bambi cows called Jerseys! I have a special connection with cattle. I can almost feel their pain when they are sick or injured. I just connect on a different level. Maybe it’s because I love them, like others love their dog. They are my passion.

As the saying goes on good old Lady Liberty says, “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” I will give them care, food and pastures to graze. Uh, isn’t that kind of funny…a New Yorker referring to Lady Liberty and comparing it to cattle. Only in New York 🙂

I think I crazily just picked a farm name for when I get started on my own. Crazy isn’t it? The odd things that come to us sometimes….

Cattle have actually been my saving grace, not the other way around. They have pulled me up from the depths of depression and overwhelming sadness that I was struggling with when I got my first little bull calf. He forced me to get out of bed every morning to care for him. He needed food and water. He got lots of attention and was a spoiled snot.

My first steer

I call him my segway animal. He is the one that got me started into this passion for cattle. Then along came Belle, aka Ma, as a rescue cow. I remember crying with her in the pasture as I watched her protecting her calf in the grass. Maybe it was the maternal instinct in both of us that caused such an intense connection. I’m honestly not sure but I know I made a promise to her to love her and care for her the way she cared for her own child.

A peaceful bliss on her face. The look of an angel in contentment.

A peaceful bliss on her face. The look of an angel in contentment.

I watched her develop her motherly instincts and become the graceful “lady” I knew in my heart she was all along. She made me see exactly what I should do in life. Cattle in need are my real passion. Working with animals with a loving nature and attitude is the most rewarding job I have ever held. Belle is the perfect demonstration of that love and compassion.

Belle, the mother to many and the real reason she is nicknamed “Ma”

The passions have grown, the research into better methods have continued and I am a forever changed person because of the cattle. It is amazing to see the progress that has been made and how special my relationship is with the animals. I absolutely adore them all. They have shown me…well, ME. Through patience, tenderness and love for cattle, I have seen a side of myself that I never thought possible. A calm, dedicated individual who would bend over backwards to provide the same quality of life for my cattle as I would my family and devoted friends. A few have called me crazy and I admit I am but there is nothing in the world like having cattle trust you so much they enjoy your company…maybe even share a “kiss” or two.

Calf kisses just happen to be the best!

Calf kisses just happen to be the best!

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Celebrate Living, Not Life

Sounds strange doesn’t it? To celebrate living, not life. It isn’t something you will probably hear many people say but I’m saying it anyway. We are all here at this time for a purpose: to live. But is it life or is it living? Can you tell the difference between the two?

Life is what happens when we developed a heartbeat, were born into this world and took our first breaths. Our journey through life is how we are living. It’s the adventures, missteps, trials and tribulations of living that make up our life.

I want to be LIVING my life for purpose, for passion, for love. I don’t want a life full of possessions and dead-end relationships.

My purpose is my passion and ultimately what I love. It might not always include a “partner” beside me but it is all me. It’s mine. It’s what makes me unique.

Why do I bring this random topic up? I bring it up because today is an anniversary that I wish I could never have seen. Sixteen years ago today, many of us in this community lost a friend. His short life was filled with living, doing the things he loved to do and having a blast while doing them. He was taken way before he should have been. I know I think of him often and how he was in life. He knew to take advantage of each new day, to constantly be living!

I don’t want a mundane life. I want to be living my dreams, living my goals, living without fear, living through my work and definitely living my passions. What are those “things” that make my life worth living? Photography is the first thing that comes to mind. Capturing those moments, those times that nature provides us with that are often missed by the naked eye. The moments when the sun rays shine just right through the leaves on a tree or reflect on the water. Cattle is the second thing that automatically comes to mind. I love the trust they share with me. They provide me with a therapy where nervousness and fear isn’t allowed. They don’t care how I dress, what makeup I wear or even if I comb my hair. They just are, I just am and they accept that. I’m still developing my dreams, my goals and my passions. I’ll figure it all out someday.

Until then, I am going to keep on living by trying new experiences and capturing those images that “speak” to me. Keep an eye out for me though…I might be that crazy lady you see laying out in a pasture surrounded by cattle somewhere!

Even the cattle often think I’m a little crazy. Sometimes it’s all about the perspective!

Pasture Time

Part of my passion in life involves cattle. There is just something about them that speaks to the very essence of what makes me who I am.

Many people look at cows and just see another animal, one that is going to used for milk or meat. To me, I see a living breathing animal with a sacred purpose. That purpose is to provide us with food. I also have a purpose when it comes to cattle, especially those I work with. My purpose is to give them the greatest of care and the best of my heart. I am a firm believer in providing cattle with the best. The best food, shelter and care, along with the best attention.

I treat cattle like this for a variety of reasons. I will talk to you a little bit about “the herd” I currently work with.

Belle came to my care nearly four years ago. I will never forget the day the truck brought her to me. She was extremely thin. She had two calves nursing on her too. I remember sitting down in the pasture with her the first hour or so with tears streaming from my eyes as I watched her lovingly care for the two calves. I could almost see the look in her eyes as she tried to determine if the whole new area was real and not a dream. I fell in love with her…hard! Right there sitting in the pasture, I knew exactly what I was meant to do.

This is what Belle looked liked when she was unloaded from the cattle hauler

This is what Belle looked liked when she was unloaded from the cattle hauler

This is Belle after three years in my care.

This is Belle after three years in my care.

My passion with cattle is to care. I love the hands on process of what I do with cattle. I have recently been told that I am much like a cattle nurse, aka the Clara Barton of cattle. I have treated animals for hypothermia, going without sleep to change out heat blankets every half hour. I have gone without sleep to care for animals with bloat, pneumonia, dehydration, scours and much more. I have taken in sick animals and rehabilitated a high percentage of them.

I have lost a couple over the years, it’s part of life unfortunately. But I put my heart into every step of trying to save them. I have taken in animals from the auction barn that couldn’t stand or even walk. I have cared for them and am now watching them grow into healthy animals.

The cattle have helped me too. After dealing with a loss in my life that I didn’t think I would really ever be able to overcome, the cattle have given me a sense of fulfillment. The make my life tolerable. They are my “therapy”. I’ve had many people tell me that I am a completely different person when I get around cattle. My normal hyperactivity pacing stops, my heart rate slows and all my stresses seem to fall off my shoulders. They keep me going.

Pasture time is therapy. The cattle have brought a smile to my face, made me laugh with their “antics” and just make my world a much better place. Cattle are magic for me. They are everything that my life represents. Abused or sick, they trust others to care for them when they are in need. When they feel good, they have no problems kicking up their hooves and racing around the paddocks. They don’t care where they sleep, so long as it’s dry, warm and comfortable.

When I get down, upset or over emotional, I go outside to the pastures. I did just that on Saturday. Here are just a few images captured.

Sir (the black one in front) snoring soundly and drooling all over himself.

Sir (the black one in front) snoring soundly and drooling all over himself.

My youngest heifer and shy girl Charity

My youngest heifer and shy girl Charity

This tiny little guy was a HUGE hit with the curious cattle

This tiny little guy was a HUGE hit with the curious cattle