Now Fern was in trouble. She had wandered into the nearly empty dirt bowl of an old cattle watering reservoir. At the bottom was just an inch or so of water, and a couple feet of sticky black mud surrounded with growing vines. When Joe heard a calf bawling inside the reservoir, he climbed up the bank and looked down, dismayed to see it was Fern, her legs sunk down out of sight in the mud. She was sinking down and was not big or strong enough to get herself out. Fern was barely able to move and clearly exhausted. It looked to Joe like she had been there for a couple of days.
Without a word, Joe hopped down into the mud with her, hanging onto anything he could to keep from getting bogged down in the mud with her, while working to free the trapped calf. He used the vines to anchor himself as best he could and after a full hour of struggling, he was able to pick up the calf and carry her out of the reservoir. He set her down and gave her a little playful push. “Now, Fern, you stay out of trouble for now on. I may not always be here to rescue you,” he scolded her as she trotted over to hungrily eat grass.