SUPPER WILL HAVE TO WAIT
by Elisha Smith
A day doesn’t go by when I don’t read an article or hear from some expert on the news about the importance of “making yourself a priority” and “taking care of you.” I imagine the people who come up with this stuff live a very different lifestyle than myself and others residing on a farm or ranch and in rural America.
Living on a farm, caring for crops, critters, and kids makes it a bit difficult to “make time for yourself and yourself only” especially during calving season. But despite this I thought I’d give it a go and try to put myself first tonight when I got home from work and get a quick walk in before I started supper. (My new year resolution of getting 10,000 steps/day hadn’t been going so well and I only had 3,000 steps in for the entire day.)
As I hiked up our steep lane in my quest to rack up steps, I checked in on the pen of first calf heifers. I heard something before I saw anything. The familial and uncomfortable sound of a heavy grunt of a tired gal in labor … one I know well from many years on calving duty and birthing three kids of my own!
The red heifer was laying on her side straining hard. An earlier convo with my husband revealed she had started labor earlier that afternoon. He had hoped she’d have it on her own. But it looked like that was not the case.
So I knew it was time to run her in and take care of business. Supper would have to wait.
I quickly jogged back down the hill (ooh baby I was getting those steps in now!) to summon my husband that his assistance was needed. We gathered our labor and delivery tools: calf puller, chains, plastic gloves and a few other essentials. We sorted her off and got her into the chute with relative ease (she only tried to take me once). The calf wasn’t backwards, but very big! Thankfully we got the big bull calf pulled relatively easy, and he was alive and healthy.
As we were heading back down to the house we saw a few more heifers who looked close to labor, so we’ll check them around midnight or so. (So much for the 8 hours of beauty sleep the experts recommend!)
I didn’t exactly get my walk in tonight (but I did clear 13,000 steps on my pedometer). I was late getting supper on the table. And I sure as heck wasn’t anyone’s priority let alone my own, and I’ll miss out on my solid 8 of shut eye.
But I was able to stand arm to arm with my husband and work together to bring one of God’s creatures into the world. And although our kids have witnessed a calf being born many times, each time it’s a new experience and something they can only experience on a farm.
I may not have a perfectly scheduled routine like the “experts” suggest, and my priorities may primarily be kids and calves at the moment. But I’m happy to trade in “me time” for the time and moments I get to cherish and experience in the country.
Supper Will Have to Wait is written by Elisa Smith and first published in the March 2016 edition Center for Rural Affairs Newsletter. As the Media and Outreach Associate for the Center for Rural Affairs, Elisha writes, creates and speaks of rural topics with an authentic voice. Elisha hails from a family farm and ranch near Imperial, NE. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture Science from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she met her husband Marty. The couple and their three children currently reside in Northeast Nebraska, south of Pender, on their farming and cattle operation.
Photos by Elisha Smith