For me 2016 was the Year of the Cow. I was able to fulfill a life dream of owning my own Red Angus cow herd. I bought 140 first calf heifers exactly a year ago. We brought them home and proceeded to calve them out here on the ranch. We also have some Black Angus cows that calve in the spring and a small herd of Black Angus that calve in the fall.
It was an exhilaratingly exhausting year. Physically, spiritually, financially. I haven’t completely wrapped my arms around the whole year yet. Sometimes it seems like a dream. Did this really just happen? Two 60 year old people bought a cow herd. Worked together everyday. Staid committed. Are still speaking? Yes, it happened.
More on that later. Today I’m thinking about what happened to me as a woman in the past year. First off, I loved every minute of it. It’s been the most physically demanding year of my life. I’ve experienced the miracle of new life…. over and over again. Every time I got to see a baby calf take her first breath or help her take the breath, I was filled with so much joy. It’s hard to explain. I got to help in the birthing process of my heifers who were struggling to give birth. I even learned how to do it by myself because I had to. When no one else was here to help and time meant life or death. I did it. I pulled 2 calves all by myself. And one had a leg back and lived. I never gave it a second thought. And when I laid that slimy little thing on the ground and helped him breathe for the first time ….. Wow! We did it. The heifer and me.
Mostly I learned more about energy than ever before. I learned how to finesse and coax and move a pregnant heifer into the barn, put her in the head catch, and help her in her time of trouble. I learned how to stay calm and keep her as calm as possible. The only real skirmish we had in 2016 was over this subject. I finally threw down and stood up for what I believe and know to be true. I am responsible for the energy I bring into that room (which happens to be a barn stall). She’s already upset and in pain. If you can’t stay calm and quiet, then leave. Many men have a way of being in the world where they think that physical strength and noise can make something happen faster. (It certainly will) They were raised that way and society rewarded it. I feel sorry for the little boys they were. I can demand they change with the same loud and forceful energy but what does that accomplish? It’s just more of the same loudness. Believe me, I’ve tried. It’s exhausting and it lacks authenticity. We women have been encouraged for eons by society to be more like men. I bought into that from time to time.
What I know is that my little circle of earth craves more feminine energy. More nurturing, intuitive, kind and loving motherly energy. I can show them. I don’t have to shout it at them. I learned how to relax and put my hands inside a cow (a first time mother) who was struggling. I could massage her inside for a moment and to help her relax and stretch and help the calf slip out more easily. I could work with her so we didn’t have to pull so hard. Guess what? Most of the time it worked. I am a mother. I know what it feels like to be in that kind of pain. Yelling and yanking doesn’t help. The best result was when we truly began working together as a team in a calm and assertive way. We developed efficient and quiet routines when calving the heifers. He did his part with the physical and I did my part with the intuitive nurturing energy. We became students of each others experience and style. The yin and the yang.
If I learned anything this year it was that I bring a unique and feminine energy to the ranch and to the barn and to the world. In 2017 I want to stay committed to who I truly am. A woman. I intend to stay fully engaged as a feminine, passionate advocate for my girls. Human and bovine.
Love, Cowgirl-Red aka Terah