Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Here comes Trouble!

Our new calf arrived last Thursday night.

The weather finally warmed up some and we were out enjoying a beautiful evening.  Earlier that day as I was at the kitchen sink doing some chores (yeah, I actually do that from time to time but don't tell anyone, I have a reputation to uphold!) I noticed out of the corner of my eye that Shirley was walking past the window, out in the pasture.  It seemed a little strange for her to be up this way that time of day but maybe the warm weather had the cows moving earlier than normal.  A little while later I noticed some movement and looked up to see Shirley going by again.  As I continued on with my work Shirley walked by a couple of more times.
Now that is different.
Later that afternoon I picked the kids up from school and went into the house to take care of a few things.  David had gone out to play with his forge and fire and do his whole "Vulcan" (no, not the Star Trek kind!) thing.  I wandered out to see what he had going and Jason had just come home so he pulled up and walked over.  As we talked with David we noticed Shirley was doing laps around the pasture not looking too comfortable.
Time for a mini oreo!!!!!!
It was a really nice evening--so glad she waited until the bitter cold and ice and snow had gone away.
Shirley paced around and every little bit she would stop, turn her head like she was going to scratch her side but instead would moo at her belly.  The kiddo is already in trouble!
We decided to put the dogs up and go inside to give her some peace so she wouldn't have to be nervous about us being around.
We proceeded with the evening's affairs then put the kids to bed.

Then Jason and I got ready and went outside in the dark.  There was enough moonlight you could see enough to pick your way across the yard, over the fence, and into the pasture.  Jason had his spotlight but didn't want to turn it on for fear of disturbing Shirley.
As we crossed the fence and took a couple of steps a movement over at the edge of the shadows caught our attention.
Spotlight time!
There, light up in all his glory, was a big, fat, fluffy...SKUNK!
So we waited quietly and as still as we could for Mr. Skunk to move on his merry way and then we were able to proceed with our appointed task.
Now that, ladies and gentlemen, is a proper Missourah date night right there.

We picked our way across the pasture down toward the pond.  There on the other side of the pond, along the fence was Shirley.  She was standing up but had her nose down to something on the ground.
Spotlight time!
(Let's hope it's something better this time...)
There on the ground was a little fluff of black fur with a white stripe around it.  A newborn baby calf.  Our first Mini Oreo of 2014!
Shirley was busy at her work of cleaning up her baby.
Shirley has this very soft lowing moo she uses when talking to her babies.  The rest of the time she moos and hollers with the best of 'em.  But whenever she is with her babies she lows with the most gentle tone.  It is awesome.
As she cleaned the baby she was talking away to it: moo, lick lick, mooo mooo mooo, lick, mooo.  It was so dang cute!
So we shut off the light and quietly made our way back across the pasture to the fence and across the yard up to the house.

Cool story, right?
It doesn't end there.
How could it, we're talking about OUR cows here.  It can't be "normal"!
The next afternoon Katie and I went out to make friends with the calf.  Shirley was keeping to the back corner of the pasture protecting her new calf but she came a little ways up the fence when she saw us coming.  There was a cute little belt bouncing along side her.
As we got closer we realized this was a pretty big calf for our cows.  Our cows usually have pretty small calves with skinny little bodies and for the first few days look like they're all legs.  This calf was big and very well filled out.  Wow!
So we talked to Shirley and pet the calf and then left because we didn't want to cause the new mama too much stress.
Still too normal for us, right.  Well, I'm getting to that...
So that evening the other cows came up to eat but Shirley was still staying at the other side of the pasture with her calf.  She finally did come up to eat a little bit but without her calf.  After a couple of minutes she turned around and ran back across the pasture.
Well, the poor thing needs to eat and she is obviously hungry so we'll take some food down to her!
Jason had just come home so he helped Katie and me carry hay down to Shirley.
Shirley was down at the back fence, the fence that separates our pasture from the woods.  The woods where sometimes other mini oreos have wandered.  But the fence has since been rebuilt and tightened so that should take care of the wandering mini oreos problem.
But there is Shirley acting upset and there's no calf to be seen.  
We look across the fence.  Shirley looks across the fence.  We look in other areas across the fence.  Shirley sniffs the ground and looks confused (like a cow would look if she were thinking, "Wait a minute, I think  there was a kid here just a minute ago!").
So what do we do?
Well, what did the nursery rhyme teach us when we were children?
"Leave them alone and they'll come home, wagging their tails behind them..." Right?
(Unless you are one of my brothers who changed the song but we won't talk about that right now.)
So, we left.  Mama and calf would find a way to reunite.  That's nature.  Let nature take its course.
Saturday morning.  Cold, nasty, misty, rainy, sleety, ugly Saturday morning.
There's the cows!
There's no calf!
There's Shirley pacing up and down the fence looking tired and worried.
Dang kids!
So Jason hops on the four-wheeler and takes off to the far pasture on the other side of the fence.  I walk down to where Shirley is pacing and look into the woods, contemplating which would be the best angle to begin the search.  Shirley and I were both listening to the four-wheeler going back and forth in the other pasture as Jason searched for the missing calf.  
I was busy trying to analyze the direction Shirley was watching, figuring she probably had the best idea where the calf would be and I needed to follow her lead in my search.  
Then the bawl of a calf rocked the cold, still air.  Shirley jumped and answered with a half-crazed MOOOO!  (No gentle lowing this time!)
From where I stood it sounded like the calf was in the woods part way down in the other pasture Jason was in.  
The calf answered Shirley and Shirley went insane.  I quickly opened the gate to let her through or I'm pretty sure she would have gone through the fence and we get rather tired of mending fences.
By the time I came over the ridge to see where Shirley had gone, Shirley had reunited with her calf and Jason was standing there with them.  Apparently the calf was out in the pasture alone, asleep at the base of a big pole that holds power lines that run through there.  Jason had picked the calf up but it started fighting him and kicking him to pieces.  
I told you this calf was a lot bigger than our other calves.
So Jason had put it down.  Good thing with that crazy mama cow coming in like a freight train.
So we got Shirley to lead her calf back to the gate and go back to her pasture.  Now everybody is happy again and the little calf is sticking very, very close to mama these days.  
At least it seems to learn from its mistakes.  
Maybe there's hope for this one yet.

Monday, March 10, 2014

My Commie Kid

I am such a proud mama!
I really am.
I am glad I have such.....*ahem*...creative...*cough, cough*....children!...
My dear son figured out how to play with webpage coding and decided to revamp the school's webpage to be a little more fitting to his personality.  It's all about everything around us changing to make us more comfortable, right?!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Birds on the Wires

"Reading the newspaper one morning, I saw this picture of birds on the electric wires. I cut out the photo and decided to make a song, using the exact location of the birds as notes. I was just curious to hear what melody the birds were creating."  --Jarbas Agnelli