Thursday, March 23, 2017

Drive - A Memoir 73rd Installment

hay that ferments, giving off gas.
6. Their rudimentary stomachs blow up like balloons.

7. They can’t breathe.

8. They are not lucky.

9. They die.

10. Russ and I get our butts kicked for not watching the cows.

I ran over to the downed cow. It was Heidi, a cow I sort of liked. Already, her staring eye was dull, and the animal was not breathing. “We’re probably too late,” Russ said, sliding to a stop by me. “Okay, where do I stab the knife?” He was holding a six–inch hunting knife; the kind we take to gut a deer.

One hand span from the hip bone towards the ribs,” I said, remembering instructions.

What hip bone? The cow’s so blown up, the hip bone is gone!” Russ cried, wild–eyed and looking like he might pass out.

Another thing I remembered being told was “two hand spans down from the back bone.” I took my best measurements, more guess than theory, and shouted while pointing at the cow’s stomach. “There’s the spot! Hurry!” Russ didn’t hesitate. He raised an arm and took a poke at the spot. Even as sharp as we keep our hunting tools, his effort produced only about a half–inch penetration and nothing else except a little blood.

You’ve pointed out the wrong spot. I think I must’ve hit bone.” Russ panted and pulled the knife out jumping back. Heidi bled a little more.

I put my hand out and said grimly, “Gimme the knife. You have to stab hard to get the knife through this animal’s tough hide and under this much pressure.” I raise the knife over head with both hands and brought it down hard as I could in the same spot. Bam! Hilt deep, perfect – well maybe not, by the smell and the hiss of gas, I reasoned that it wasn’t perfect – for us. I yanked the knife out. The foul green liquid shot up like a geyser, ten feet or more. We got sprayed then rained on, yuck, yuck, yuck. As we were dancing around spitting and wiping, trying to get the fetid stuff off us, the miracle began. Heidi wheezed, gave a sharp cough, and started to breathe. As we watched, the heifer struggled to get to her feet. After a few lunges forward, Heidi gained her hind feet and stood up on all four. The wound was still oozing green goo with streaks of blood. Heidi looked at us; her eyes were starting to shine again, and she seemed to be thanking us with that look.

We better get something on that wound. You prod the bugger over to the gate by the barn and I’ll run get the Bag Balm,” I offered. Bag Balm was all we knew to use because this salve could heal a small wound on a cow’s teat in just twelve hours, so they could be milked again. We herded the cow into
500 more words tomorrow

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