We were already late, like later than
the usual late, and there she stood staring at me as I was flying down the
driveway. I hit the brakes and slid a bit on the ice, then put ‘er in reverse
and was up to the barn in seconds.
The kids were curious about what was
going on but not too excited. They’re used to ma’ skidding to the barn anymore.
Lucy doesn’t have a set due date but
by the looks of it it was to be soon. She usually looks ready for a good month
This morning however she looked thin.
Of course she did, we were late! Really this would have been as good of time as
any to be extra late. It’s only a few calls- school, daycare work, to let
everyone know we’re tending a midwinter calf and will be messing with everyone’s
I jumped out of the van and up to the
fence. There was no calf on the ground that I could see. Her belly was sitting
This time she was just posing for a
selfie I s’pose- you know that pose that makes the girls look a hundred pounds
lighter. She had it perfected this morning; stopped me in my tracks.
Calf watch is on now. There’s a full moon on the 21st. She’s getting close.
There was a short week where we didn’t have any morning chores. The cows were in the pasture and the goats had been sold. I’m back to morning chores now. We’ve got the steers that are scheduled for burger and Sweet Caroline in the corral and the rest of the herd in the pasture. That means filling a second stock tank and feeding hay and grain to the boys and Caroline. They all could use a little fattening.
Poor Caroline, she’s been so skinny. I’ve dewormed her a few times thinking maybe that was the problem. According to the calendar she was due to calve in a month but she was just too thin. I spoke with the vet and he came out and gave her a look-over. Diagnosis was slight pneumonia, very nutrient deficient and not pregnant. All around disappointing but fixable. His recommendation was give her some finishing grain along with her hay and some extra minerals. And ween that darn calf!!
The other girls kick their calves off when they’ve had enough. We haven’t had much of a problem getting them to ween when needed. Elwood is a few weeks short of a year. There’s no good reason he still needs milk. Sweet Caroline is living up to her name once again. She will nurse any calf that tries and will not kick Elwood off. That is draining her as well.
Long story short, I’ve been trying to keep the two separated for a good month now. It hasn’t been going well. Elwood’s head is still small enough to fit through the fences and gates. He calls from the gate and she stands there and lets him eat. We had finally been making progress when she was in with the steers.
“Hey! Check your phone!” It was Mike calling me at work.
“Wait…What?! Is that Wheez..Lu..Mar.. no Lucy’s?!” I couldn’t get my words out but through my stammering Mike was able to translate.
“Yes! Lucy had a calf not too long ago. She’s still cleaning it off.”
“Well shoot. I didn’t think she was due for a couple months yet.”
Once again surprised by a calf. Lucy is great for calving, knock-on-wood, she hasn’t needed help with any so far. Each one she gets up and eating right away. She’s a good cow.
When I got home I headed right for the barn rather than the house. The cows were spread about the corral. Lucy was standing next to the feeder outside. I didn’t see a calf anywhere. It’s not unusual for our calves to get out at least twice within their first week. But not usually within the first few hours and when Lucy’s calves are out she’s call’n. I walk up to the fence next to her and looked around. It was then that the hay in the feeder moved. The little guy was balled up in there and she had him covered to keep him warm.
What a crazy morning! Lucy had her calf, a little heifer I named Margo. The barn cat that we hadn’t seen since we brought him home two weeks ago finally decided to come out of hiding and let the whole family pet him. I’ve got two ducks sitting on eggs and a dozen in the incubator. Then the mailman calls and our chicks arrived already! I wasn’t expecting those until at least tonight if not tomorrow.
I am once again in need of yet another bookshelf… and a place to put it. I don’t know if I could convince Mike to build me a mouse proof room in the barn for a library. I’m sure he’ll figure something out for me. He’s good at that.
For now, I’ve started reading “Veterinary Guide for Farmers, New and Revised Edition” by G.W. Stamm copyright 1975. I’m learning all sorts of things; shots, sutures, temperatures, diseases, viruses, blood, puss and stool samples. No one is sick or injured but it never hurts to know that you read something about that and now what was it… That’s how this will go. Someday one of the cows will be sick and I will be standing there thinking “I know I read about what’s going on here, hmm.” I’ve never been super interested in surgery and such. M*A*S*H* is pretty much the extent of it (and of the military movies too). I can stomach it but ‘eh I can do without though too.