Our baby calf, Lady, was born in the middle of the fall, so she had to endure a long winter. I built her a small barn out of straw with a little outside pen so she could get some fresh air. But as she grew, the pen looked smaller and smaller. It seemed like spring would never get here so I could put her in a bigger pasture.
When spring finally did come, I found the pasture needed lots of work. Still, I knew Lady needed to stretch her legs. I put a halter on her, and led her into the yard. The yard, though full of things like swings and teeter-totters, was well fenced and would give her room to run. I had no sooner let her loose than she was galloping around, kicking up her heels, and bellowing her pleasure at her new found freedom.
The cats all ran for cover. Although Lady wouldn’t hurt them on purpose, her running was totally out of control. She would often run so fast that, when she came to a fence, she couldn’t stop, and would crash into it.
After about an hour of running, she finally settled down and started munching on the new tufts of grass that were poking up through last year’s brown lawn. Eventually, her grazing brought her up to my children’s swing set.
I had built the swing out of huge logs. It is about 20 feet tall with long chains that hang from the top rail. My children love it, since the arc of the swing is long and thrilling.
One of the swings is an old tire. I had turned it inside out to make it hold its form, and then I had cut out a portion of it so it is like a curved chair. It is big and heavy, and once you get it going, it will swing a long time. All of our children enjoy it, even the older ones. They will tuck up in it, and then someone will swing them super high, and they will go forever.
Lady, in her grazing, bumped into this swing, so she bunted it out of her road. The swing, of course, went out a small distance, then returned, smacking her. Lady didn’t like this at all. She shook her head and snorted. She then bunted it harder. The swing responded by going out even further and coming back and hitting her harder in return.
Lady backed up a step, snorted a few times, then stepped up and hit the swing hard. The swing went out even further than before. When it came back, it hit her so hard she stumbled.
That seemed to be the last straw. Lady backed up clear to the fence, about 15 feet. She snorted, she pawed the ground, and she bellowed. After she had let the swing know it was in big trouble, she charged at full speed.
She hit it dead center, and sent it on an arc about 15 feet into the air. She snorted and shook her head, proud of her ability to teach the swing a lesson.
But for every action there is an opposite and equal reaction, and the swing was very unforgiving. It came back with equivalent force. Lady saw it coming full speed toward her, and she turned to run, but that was as far as she got. The swing hit her hard, and rolled her a few times.
She was really mad then. She jumped to her feet and ran to the swing, biting, kicking and pawing. Soon she was so wrapped up in the chain that she was hog tied and lying on her back, feet in the air, unable to move. That was when I decided I probably should do something. My family all looked at me strangely as I announced my intentions.
“The swing just beat up the calf, so I better go rescue her from it.”