And that's no bull

By Johanna Bloom
Aug. 16, 2012 at 3:16 a.m.

Big Boy in the trailer.

Big Boy in the trailer.

Ranch Life

My boys are very different. Austin is older, has brown hair and deep blue eyes. Jamison is fair haired with green eyes. Their appearances are as different as their personalities.

Austin is all about speed. Nothing he does is slow, from effortlessly rushing through his school work, to running at top speed wherever he is headed and talking non-stop. Whenever his body finally does slow down, it is guaranteed his mind is still racing.

Jamison is calm and thoughtful. He is very cautious, honest to a fault, and has a streak of shyness. He is agreeable, understanding and is such a hard worker. Whatever he sets his mind to, he does and does it well.

As you can tell, I am a very thankful mom. I am thankful of who my boys are and who they will become. I am also very thankful for their many differences. They certainly keep my life interesting.

This was all on vivid display recently. In true ranch fashion, we had an appointment to take a new Brahman bull into our local veterinarian's office to vaccinate and have tests performed. This bull is new to our ranch, young at only 2 1/2 years old, and he is a little spirited. He was not too happy about getting in a trailer, or about being taken away from his girls at the ranch.

My youngest child Jamison has recently decided that being a veterinarian would "be cool." He was busy watching the vet work and asking a ton of questions. "What is that shot for?" "Why does he do that?" "Did you really stick that there?" "Whoa, he really weighs 1,565 pounds?"

Taking a break from his many questions, he added that he weighs 55 pounds. The light bulb went off in Jamison's head. Just then he realized that this Braham bull, that we affectionately call "Big Boy," is indeed a force to be reckoned with. Jamison started explaining his sudden realization to Austin, who was already fully aware of the size situation.

Actually, Austin was extremely quiet, which is very unusual for him. Austin and Jamison's eyes were suddenly extremely wide watching how the vet was working on Big Boy with a new respect for the vet's abilities in handling the sheer size involved.

After a couple of lunges and extreme efforts to break free of the squeeze chute, Big Boy seemed to give up, and he sunk to the ground. Every hair on their head was standing on end and their gazes were razor sharp, watching the vet and the bull. The vet began hurriedly releasing levers so Big Boy could breathe and stand back up.

John motioned for me to take the boys behind the metal gate should there be any problem with Big Boy's unhappiness with his current situation. Suddenly, the bull took a big gasp of air and let out a loud bellow as he jumped to his feet ready to lunge once again.

Before I could make a move, Austin shot past my side taking cover on the seemingly safe side of the metal gate. Jamison, however, didn't move quite as fast. He was so intent on watching exactly what the vet was doing; the sudden movements from the bull, loud bellows and the intense clanking of the metal of the squeeze chute, it took a while to get through to him.

He shot behind the metal gate with Austin's encouragement of, "Run Jamison! Come on!" This encouragement came unfortunately a little too late. Jamison had just received a blast from Big Boy's swishing tail. This swish consisted of all kinds of smelly stuff that cattle expel when they get excited. Austin smiled at him and gave him the thumbs up sign. Jamison was initiated into the club. He was a true rancher now. After his initial disgust, his lip curled with a little sense of pride.

On that particular day my boys reacted in completely different manners. Austin chose to react, and he reacted very fast. However Jamison's curiosity got the better of him, and he got his own reward of sorts, a virtual badge of honor.

I overheard Austin mentoring Jamison, "Yeah that happened to me a couple of times, but I think you smell worse than I ever did." That comment made Jamison smile even wider. John and I had to laugh. That familiar saying is so very true, "Boys will be boys."

Johanna is a proud seventh generation Texan. She lives on her family's South Texas ranch with her husband and two lively boys. Email Johanna Bloom or Anita Spisak at



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