We all know what multi-tasking and multi-purpose means. Multi-tasking means doing more than one thing or job at a time and multi-purpose means an item can be used for more than one thing. Okay, now that I have you really confused, I would like to tell you a story of My Three Legged Cow, Rusty Rose.
Rusty Rose was born in March of 2002. She was my first calf, by my Longhorn cow, Angel, and I thought she was just beautiful. By age two she gave birth to her first calf, Ruby Tuesday, and every year after she gave me a bull calf. We were always pleased with her offspring and planned to keep her around for quite a while.
Well, apparently, that wasn’t in the stars. In January of 2008, on the coldest morning of the season, she didn’t come up with the herd to eat. We found her at the hay barn upside down in the hay ring. She had apparently tried to get into the ring to get the hay in the middle and caught her left hind leg. She had to have been there for a few hours because her leg was already showing signs of frostbite. We were sure she would lose it.
Now, as I said earlier, these are Longhorn cattle and they do have horns, big ones. Allen, my partner, got her to the barn and he began working with her to get her back on her feet. She was due to deliver a calf in March and I, at least, wanted to keep her alive that long and save the calf. He done all he could do with antibiotics and lifting her up to stand everyday. She was pretty aggressive and would do her best to try to hook him so I stayed clear. He is the one with the experience. We were able to keep her going and in March she delivered a beautiful bull calf, which I named Squirt. I thought for sure that I would have to bottle feed him and she wouldn’t be able to take care of him with only three legs, her leg did fall off after two months but, to our surprise, after she gave birth she took to caring for her calf like nothing else. She was up and nursing him and very protective. It took me a little more than a week before I could get in her stall to feed her. When Squirt was about two months old, we were able to arrange an area where we could let them out of the barn and at the same time be safe from the rest of the herd. She couldn’t cope with the cows because she couldn’t move fast enough and they would pick on her. So every day they got to get out in the lot and move around and enj0y the grass.
Now, comes the good part. I had planters hanging on my fence that was next to the house. I thought I had done a pretty good job of securing them from the wind and Rusty Rose but to my surprise, I didn’t. Allen went out one morning to feed before work and turned her and the calf out into the lot. I heard him come back into the house about 30 minutes later and holler, “You need to come see this!” I didn’t know what was going on but when I walked out the door, he was standing there looking at Rusty and said, “Now what do we do?” I looked at her and she had hooked one of my plant baskets off the fence and was wearing it on her horn. It sure was a funny sight.
While trying to figure out how to get it off her horn, Allen said, “ let me try something,” and headed for the barn. He came back with a training stick with a small hook on the end for catching the halter and rope, that we use for training our horses. He reached out towards Rusty Rose and hooked the basket pulling it off her horn. Easy enough, right? Here, we thought we would have a terrible time with her but she just stood there. Needless to say, I secured my baskets better after that.
So by telling this story, I wanted to emphasize on the fact that farm tools, although each have a specific purpose, can be used for more than just one thing. This story just tells of a humorous event in which a training tool was used as a catch all or pick up stick. But, there are so many uses for other tools around the farm, you just have to think about it. It is like us country girls and our decorating. I have two big tractor tires with my strawberry plants in and I use an unused gate for my cucumbers to grow up, I use old barrells (50 gal.) cut in half for tomato and other plants so I have more room in my garden. Anything that will hold soil that is just lying around and not being used, particularly if it is to be discarded and I like it, you can bet I’ll have a plant in it before summer is over. That is just an example.
There are so many other things like the string off hay bales, use them to tie gates back, tie up tomato plants, use on closing boxes and etc. Tractors have dual purposes, as well as, livestock sorting sticks, I use them just to keep my animals at bay while feeding, and even feeders can be used as a multi-purpose tool. Use your imagination and you’ll find a lot of different uses for things you already have. With our economy as it is today, every little bit helps.