Why of course, when that’s the only means of transportation you have!

One year, the dairy where I buy my bull calves called.  Julie had a bull calf for us and I was so excited because we ‘d been waiting for one and it had been a long time.  I went to get him and he settled in right away.

Julie called me again the next night and said, “I have a proposition for you….”

Beware the propositions!!  I reluctantly said,  “Okay?”  She proceeded to tell me that they’d had a pair of twins born, a bull and a heifer.  When a heifer is born with a bull, the heifer is sterile.  They wouldn’t be able to use her at the dairy.  The twins were born a month early, Julie said, and they weren’t sure they would make it.  Julie told me, “John and I said if anyone could keep them alive it would be you.”  And I was sucker enough to fall for that line!

Because they weren’t sure if they would live, Julie said they would give the calves to us.  I went to pick them up.  They were a little smaller but not by much!  We fed them goats milk and they grew quickly.  We never did have any problems with them.  Now we had 3 calves and I couldn’t feed that many for 18 months.  We had another friend with some acreage and they were looking to try and raise their own meat.  I told them I would sell the heifer, Riberta, to them once she was weaned, if they were interested.

They were excited about the deal because when they got her, they wouldn’t have to mess with the bottle and she could go right to pasture.

The day came when it was time to take Riberta over to our friend’s place.  They only live about 8 minutes from us (my kids have timed it) so it’s not far.  But it’s far when you don’t have a trailer.  Dave had to go into work and I was on my own with the kids to get this calf over to the other place.  These are the times you’re either  really glad you taught your kids deductive reasoning or you’re kicking yourself that they can intelligently work through a problem.

My thought was to tie her up in the back of the truck and  away we would go!  Simple, easy, no muss, no fuss!

“No way!” my kids said.  First of all, she weighed a couple hundred pounds by now and a  lot of it was leg – how were we going to “just lift her into the back” of the truck?  And, the back of the truck was a little high…

Secondly, you had to be 18 to ride in the back of the truck. (This is the down side of multiple kids trying to get their licenses and actually reading the whole driving manual!)  I was the only one home over 18 and I had to drive.

Thirdly, who was going to hold her down if she got “wild”  in the back of the truck!?  Okay, the possibility did exist that she could flip a kid over the side of the truck …

So what were we going to do!?  I glanced over at our 12 passenger van and the kids followed my eyes.

“Mom!! Dad will shoot you if you put that calf in the back of the van!!”

“Well, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.  How else are we going to get this calf over there?”

They all stood there shaking their heads…and I really don’t know why.  I’ve done crazier things than this and they should know me by now!

“Look”, I said matter-of-factly, trying to convince them this was a great idea, “if we put sheets on the back of the seat and on the floor, I know it will be fine.  Just pray she doesn’t poop in the van.”

“Mooooooom!  If we do this, it’s because you told us to.  We told you not to cuz Dad wouldn’t like it!”


“Okay, I’ll take the blame on this one.  Now grab some blankets and sheets and let’s get her in the van.”

It was so simple!  Riberta jumped right in, well, sort of , with a little help from the kids. 🙂  And, she wasn’t too smooshed.  Yes, this plan was going to work and since it was only 8 minutes, Dave might never know.  Of course, that would be highly unlikely with all these kids as witnesses!

So off we went….and so did Riberta.

We were hardly out of our road when the kids started sniffing, long and loud sniffs.  Then, “Ohhhhh Mom!!!  That smell!!  Can’t you smell that!?  It reeks!”  At which point they began to open the van windows, shoving their noses into the air , gasping for breath.

“Mom,I think she farted!”  “No way, it has to be more than that!  It smells too bad!”

I asked the kids to look and see.  “Mom, I can’t see the ground – she’s taking up all the room back here but man, does it stink!!”

The gagging and surmising of what we were going to find back there continued until we reached our destination…

Riberta could see out of the back window and seemed to be enjoying her ride.  She was a Holstein, black and white.  I looked out my side mirror and noticed a car traveling very close to me – umm, I think we could call it tailgating.  There was a woman driving who kept straining to see over her steering wheel.  I didn’t think there was any law about transporting calves in vans and my kids didn’t mention any.  What was she looking at any way?  Hadn’t she ever seen a cow in the back of van before?  For pete’s sake, we lived in the country, didn’t we?

This lady followed us almost the whole way there.  I think she was still shaking her head when she turned.

Finally, we made it to our friend’s place.  We all were a little scared of what we would find when we opened the back of the van.  We slowly cracked open the door.  Yep, she had pooped all over the back of the van.   And, of course, when we loaded her, she moved the sheet some and pooped right on the van carpet – and not just once!

Kerri did have some heavy duty carpet cleaner and I scrubbed and scrubbed.   It cleaned up good as new!  No one would ever suspect that we had transported a cow in the back of our van – unless my kids were around to tell the tale!

I imagined what it would have been for Riberta that night in the barn with the other animals.  You know how it is at parties where people are just meeting one another and trying to make a good impression by “one upping” each other?

Well, I suspect there may have been some of that happening…

“So, you, new girl.  I notice you have a nice nylon halter on your face.  Tomorrow, I’ll show you my leather one with the shiny silver on it!”

“Nice looking legs and all, but it’s too bad you don’t have wings like me and can fly to the top of the fence.”

“How’d you get here?  We all came in an old two horse trailer – nothing beats that kind of traveling!”

And little Riberta, chewing her cud, looks up at the horses, the chickens, and the goats.  With those big black eyes and longs lashes, she blinks a few times and pauses…”Well ya’ll, I rode in the back of a Chevy 12 passenger van and stood on carpet the whole way here.”