Sunday, December 19, 2010


Before I moved to the farm, I read a few survival articles and one mentioned that to live in such a territory one requires to have mental and emotional stability.
            For a long time my mental state has been dependent on the occasion at hand and somehow I’ve managed to ‘manage’. My ultimate test came this week. I came back home from an assignment and was emotional, well I’d say I still need time to find a balance. I was met by somber feeling at home. We’ve had quite a number of deaths in the family so my hair was on its end before I put down my luggage. Uncle gave me a brisk reply to my greeting and aunt was saying something about a sick cow. The week before one of the heifers had had a miscarriage so I thought it probably was having complications.
            It was an unpleasant shock to find my favorite heifer, the pack leader looking as though ran over by a tractor. It had received an injection and with its pregnancy, it looked very fatigued.
That cow is as I said the leader of the others. It is happy and feels good most of the time. It likes to run with its tail up and hind legs flying, skipping at a breakneck speed you’d think it’s a horse from far. Any cow that does not follow its instructions – to walk behind it always – gets lifted high up and thrown over a fence.
            Seeing her down made me feel so bad. I spent the day trying to feed it baby Corn. The second day the water broke and we waited for the birth but the poor animal was to weak.
Hours later, nothing had happened and she was obvious in a lot of pain. I held the torch and gritted my teeth. My legs turned into steamed spinach, I sat and closed my eyes tightly, but the tears kept coming, my cousin came from his night tours. I called him to hold the torch and I escaped. But they finished pulling and I went back to see.

It’s breathing.
No it’s not, it’s dead.

The mother looked tired and wasted, but a bit teary eyed. The dead calf was a beautiful freshian, long with big patches of white. I really needed to sleep. The following day I was cranky and kept snapping at people, especially when one of my one week old chick fell into a sufuria of water and died.
The cow was feeling better, eating a bit, but its fur was falling out. We sat and talked about other things drinking cupfuls of tea. At the back of our minds, each of us praying that the poor heifer will get back in shape to head the heard.
            Emotionally, I sat in the kitchen all day to avoid seeing the dead calf being butchered to be fed to Tom and Tusker.

There a story for another day, about vets who should  be fired .

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