OK, those calves are certainly cute right now, but …
Believe it or not, my thoughts are turning to spring. It happens every year about this time as basketball and wrestling seasons are coming to a close. But, that's not what really screams spring to me.
That would be calves.
It's something I look forward to every year. There's nothing like seeing those little, bitty cute guys and gals running around pastures to bring a smile to the face. I'll never know why, but baby calves are just the cutest animals in the world.
Maybe that's because when anyone says how cute they are, it's always followed by "too bad they have to grow up." Much like children, that's certainly true. As they grow older -- and bigger -- that cute certainly wears off fast.
But, for now, I find myself using the squeaky baby-talk voice anytime I see one -- "oh, isn't dat da cutest, wittle-bitty, baby, tiny calf?" They're just darling. Forgive me for this weakness, I just can't help myself.
They stay cute for several months, but then it starts to wear off. By the time it's cattle-working and calve loading time in the fall, there isn't any cute left. Mama cows are bawling and those "babies" can break your foot or run you over when trying to get them in the trailer.
But, that's not for awhile.
No, spring started for me Friday when I went to check on the girls. Because of another sure sign of impending spring -- the nasty mud from winter's latest round -- I drove the four-wheeler up to the west barn to feed them grain. Sidewinder, the biggest, gray farm tomcat in the world, rode with me. When we got to the top of the hill, there she was.
"Ah, look at da wittle-bitty, tiny-winey, baby calf," I luckily had Side with me to say that to. He wasn't interested. The stop on the four-wheeler and the cows eye-balling him convinced him to mosey on back home, even though he was about a half mile away.
So, I gawked at the little girl for awhile. She must have been born late Thursday or early Friday, because she was all clean and certainly frisky. It was a joy to see her dance around mama and every once in awhile thud the udder with her nose. She knew what it was all about and she was plenty healthy. That's the best sign of all.
But, it didn't take long for the rest of the girls to figure out what I had in the buckets on the back of the four-wheeler. They smelled the grain and they wanted it -- now.
I dumped the three buckets in the trough and there was the usual bedlam as all 30, including Mr. Black the bull, jostled for grain position. That included No. 74, who had the honors this year of first calf. She forgot about her new mama duties for the grain stampede.
The calf got another valuable lesson on her first day, too. Don't get in the way when it's grain time. Didn't take her long to figure that out and she got completely out of the way.
That gave me a chance to walk up to her and say hello. She even let me touch her head and she gave me one of those to-die-for little calf moos. "Ah, yer so toot, ittle, bitty, tiny-winey baby calf." Side wasn't even there to hear that one.
Okay, that's enough. Remind me how cute they are when it's time to tackle the bull calves and put those bands on. Or maybe next fall when one of them has stepped on my foot while I'm shoving her onto the trailer and the manure is flying. Yep, nothing cute about that.
But, oh, those early days of spring.
But, back to those sports a little bit and the end of the seasons. By a long shot, the seasons have been good for all the local teams, most notably the Baldwin High School wrestlers and girls basketball and Baker University womens basketball.
What's been best for us all, though, has been a combination of those two in a round-about way. BHS graduate and Baker student Jimmy Gillispie did an internship for the Signal over the Christmas break. I've meant to make mention of this before, but haven't. I know most everyone figured it out and the coaches have enjoyed him.
Gillispie covered BHS basketball and did a great job. When the internship was over, he didn't want to stop, either. He's continued to cover the BHS girls.
I've appreciated Gillispie's help immensely. He's followed in a line of top-notch BHS grads who have interned with us. You remember Laini Broers and David Pressgrove. He's right there with them. Thanks, Jimmy, you've done a great job.