September was National Preparedness Month. Since the government seems to be weeks late and $20 trillion short, I am here today to tell you that you should be prepared. This thought occurred to me as I was tagging a baby calf the other day.

Most of the time, I am able catch a baby calf, put a tag in its ear, and be off before things get exciting. I could put the calf in a cage attached to the utility vehicle or I could pull them into the back of the vehicle I am driving and be relatively safe. But you know me, that takes time and energy I don’t want to forfeit. So I just put myself out there with nothing but the baby calf between me and mommy. Did you know a cow can move as fast as Flash and hit as hard as Hulk? One would think with my experience I would know better. I realized the other day how fast I could still move with proper motivation. That experience jarred an old memory in the back of my brain.

When I talk about being prepared, I also mean do not trust anything your brother tells you. Years ago my brother and I were headed out to tag a baby calf. I had just gotten a new lariat and was ready to use it. I told my brother that we probably ought to put the trailer on the 4-wheeler just in case the cow was a little protective. My brother convinced me that she would not be that bad and I agreed because it was a pain to drag the trailer across the pasture.

When we pulled up to the calf, the rope settled right over the calf’s head. The new rope was working well. However, as we approached the calf to insert the tag, the cow informed us that we were not going to touch her baby. So plan B was enacted. I would pull the 4-wheeler up to the calf, my younger brother would pull the calf up to the vehicle and the brave one would reach over and put the tag in the calf’s ear. That was a great theory. A 4-wheeler is not a large deterrent for an angry cow. I don’t know whether she went over, around or through the 4-wheeler. I just left. So now my brother and I are both hiding behind separate trees, contemplating how this is going to play out. At least we still had ahold of the rope.

At this point we see our dad at the far side of the pasture. Dad can fix anything. We stand up, hollering and waving our arms to get his attention. Apparently this cow had some Spanish blood in her and mistook our actions for those of a matador. I knew she had me in the cross-hairs so I motored toward the fence passing my brother who ducked back behind the tree. The fence was about twenty or thirty yards off and about four feet in height. A lot can go through your mind in that distance. Thought number one, she will probably give up and I won’t have to figure out how to get to the other side of the barrier. Two, I probably have time to wiggle through the wires. Three, don’t chance it. As I approached the fence, I put one hand on top of a post and jumped. I didn’t know I could clear a fence that high. It was the right decision because the cow hit the post as my feet hit the ground on the other side. For all you skeptics, I believe there is a God.

Even though I had the cow distracted, my brother dropped the rope instead of finishing the job. The cow ran back to her calf and off they went with my rope in tow. Of course they had to cross the creek with my new rope. At least it was getting broke in, right? At this point my brother decided maybe we had better go hitch up the trailer. NO KIDDING!

To make a long story short, the cow and calf made multiply trips into the creek. With the help of dad, we managed to finally get ahold of the end of the rope and pull the calf into the trailer. Did I mention the trailer had an open top with only about 4.5 foot sides? Let’s just say we kept moving from one side of the trailer to the other to keep the cow from tagging us as we were putting the identification marker on the calf.

When we were finally able to let the calf go, the cow tried to get my brother who had hooked the trailer to a little JD 40 tractor because he didn’t think the 4-wheeler was a wise idea anymore. Watching my brother try to engage the clutch while the cow tried to hit his foot every time he attempted the clutch was the only gratification I received from the whole ordeal.

The point of the whole mess is that it is better to be over prepared than wishing you were. We live in Southeast Kansas. We could face drought, flood, tornadoes, fire and loss of electricity all in the same week. Remember the ice storm a few years ago? I do not have fond memories of that experience. Having a few days of food and water on hand can be a lifesaver. Finances are something to have in order as well. Having an emergency fund to pay for unexpected bills such as a cracked water heater, alternator on the car, medical bills, etc. is a wise idea. Though I missed writing this story for September, it is better late than never. You never know when the next storm of life will occur and it is never too early to start preparing. As life continues; keep looking between the barb wire and remember to take the trailer when it comes to those squirrelly cows.