This morning was the last chance for our bull. Neil and I had about half way decided to haul him to the sale barn 3 weeks ago when there were 4 cows in heat within a week. Pretty sure sign that somebody is infertile. Since the cows all come from varied backgrounds and have not had trouble breeding in the past, we were very suspicious of our bull. He is a registered Red Poll and we have several calves born from him already on farm but.... they are all strung out in age. That is a pretty good indicator that he has always had a little trouble getting the job done.
Yesterday, 2 of the 4 cows were back in heat right on schedule. This morning a 3rd one is in heat. Seth and I hitched up the trailer and loaded up the bull. Today, conviently, happens to be sale day at the stockyards.
I did not even feel vaguely guilty when he and a pair of cows happily trotted in to the catch pen with hardly any persuasion from me or Seth. Every time we catch the cows up, we feed them so they were expecting a treat and dashed across the goat lot and into the working pens almost on their own. Seth and I looked at each other and commented that this was almost too easy.....
We left the cow in heat caught up in the pens and I will AI ( artificially inseminate) her later in the day. I have some semen from a nice Angus bull in the tank that we will try out on her. Our bull loaded up on the trailer with only a few taps from Seth. Then we hit the road...... and discovered a new clicking, rattling, strange noise coming from under the back of the truck....... the fully loaded truck straining to pull this bull 13 miles to the sale barn.
I should just go ahead and confess that I hate pulling a trailer and have an unreasonable fear of something going terribly wrong while pulling a trailer. I've been doing it for nearly 30 years and I still HATE it. It doesn't get any better...... something is always happening to the truck and trailer----- real or imagined. The lights don't work ( usually because the goats have chewed on something), the tires go flat, it takes me 40 tries to get backed up and hitched. My deepest, darkest fear is that the dang thing will come unhitched while pulling a load down the highway......or the floor will collapse with my animals in there. The problem is that I have seen both of these things happen along with a bunch of other horrible trailer accidents.
So long before we actually get ready to haul things in the trailer, my tension level is high. By the time I get things loaded and heading out the farm gate, my nerves are on edge. When we reach the highway, I am pretty close to a basket case and gripping the steering wheel with white knuckle intensity....... waiting for something to "sound funny".
Usually it is all for nothing and the trip is uneventful...... The kids think that I am crazy and Salena usually rolls her eyes at me and tell me that I worry too much. Of course, I do ---- I am a mother!!!
At first, Seth tried to ignore the noise and not add to my anxiety.
Guess what?????!!!! Today, there was just no getting around it--we had a funny noise. A real, non-imagined odd clicking coming from the back of the truck. I stopped about 3 miles down the road and had Seth take a look. Nothing visible, nothing burning or smoking just a strange persisitent clicking noise while accelerating. Ten miles to the sale barn and the trip back home...... dare we try it???? Of course, we did!
The entire way I was considering how we were going to handle breaking down on the side of the road with a large bull in the back....... how wide is the shoulder? Wonder how fast I can push it to get up and over this hill so if it quits, we can coast over the top and not be stranded with the truck on a backward incline--- in case the transmission can't hold it in park on the side of the road with the weight of the bull in the trailer pulling it backwards.....If it drags backwards it will probably jack knife and block traffic. Since it will be at the bottom of the hill, oncoming traffic won't see it until it is too late!!!
Do you see how my mind builds these disaster scenarios??? In my imagination, I have already had a massive car pile up like they have on the freeways of Los Angeles and we haven't driven 5 miles from the farm on a two lane county road...... Seth is sitting in the passenger side of the truck with no idea that any of this is going on. It's all imaginary. I probably need medication.
We made it there, unloaded and clicked our way back home.
I called Neil and described the sound and he thinks that it might be the universal joint. I was almost home by this time and figured I could probably make it.
Now that we are home, safe, sound and unhitched, I am wondering about going back to watch the sale later today. I think that I deserve lunch at the Stockyard Cafe` after my strenuous morning, don't you?