Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Mommy! Daddy's Bringing in a Warthog!

This morning, I was enjoying the part-timeness of my part-time job, i.e., not having to go to work today, instead, answering emails and perusing the athleta.com sale site, all while still in my running clothes and drinking coffee.

All of a sudden my part-time dream was interrupted, by Amelia shouting, “Mommy! Daddy’s bringing in a warthog!!!”

My sweet girl, in her frilly Sleeping Beauty nightgown was at the family room window, the one that faces west, just above our exterior entry to our basement.

While I can thank Go, Diego, Go for her knowledge of the warthog, I was sure she was kidding. So, as I came to the window, I noticed Joe’s tractor and feed wagon just on the edge of our yard. He never parks his tractors in our yard.


Then I noticed the basement door was open.

Double, uh-oh.

I detest our basement for two main reasons: 1) seeing Silence of the Lambs in the seventh grade and 2) critters that could be living down there. I go down there twice a year (give or take), once to get my Christmas decorations and once to put them away.

Even though I despise our basement, I know there are no warthogs down there, or in Illinois for that matter (right, Diego?), so I was curious what was going on.

My curiosity soon equaled a new experience, and just a few minutes later, I was down in the scary basement, holding a bag of warm calf formula, squinting my eyes closed as Joe “tubed” a cold calf. Evidently this little guy, from the time Joe checked him last night until this morning, had gotten too cold and hadn’t eaten. Joe was so calm, although irritated, and spoke soothing words to the animal, not a warthog.

Rubbing it with an old comforter, the calf successfully took the warm milk via tube feeding (I’ll have Joe explain that when he’s in the house some day, but it’s basically feeding the calf directly to the stomach), and started to suck a little when it was finished, so that’s a good sign, but Joe’s realistic. This is something that isn’t necessarily always successful. Calves should nurse from their mamas, and shouldn’t get so cold as to be lethargic. This is the challenge we have with this crazy March weather.

It’s lovely right now, just looking out. I ran in snow and sleet this morning, and it was beautiful on the trees, but as a cattle farmer, this is weather that can wreak havoc on the calves.

Maybe we would have been better off if Joe had found a warthog, but I am hopeful that my small contribution today to the cattle business we have will end in a positive result.

Either way, this little guy will now be known as either Warty or Diego.


  1. I agree, this March weather has been crazy! Hopefully we can get into spring real soon. Hope the calf warms up!

  2. We rescued a calf when I was about 10. We called him "Lucky," but he didn't end up so lucky. Hope Warty/Diego fares much better! When I was college-age, a cow deserted her wee one, and our black lab decided to be a surrogate. He would not leave that calf for anything! Aren't dogs great!