Monday Moo-sings: In which we share random happenings, snapshots & recipes
I don’t know if you noticed I stood you up last Thursday, but it’s been a little exhausting around here. I know we’re small. Two calves in one day is no big deal on a large farm. But you haven’t met these calves. I know Milking Devons make some amazing milk, but these moms must make rocket fuel.
The first day for new babies is usually kind of quiet – being born is tough business and they spend much of that day tucked into a warm place getting some battery-charging sleep. But the second and third days, look out. Those poor moms spend hours running after their kids trying to get them to listen. Which doesn’t work any better for cow moms than it does for human ones. The more the calves get chased, the more fun the game. I haven’t figured out how to tell the Ladies if they just turned and walked away, those babies would run right back.
Of course, along with the exhaustion are some moments of heart-warming charm and cuteness. Like this morning, when all three babies were playing inside the barn. Chasing each other around the posts, zooming around the corners, jumping and bucking like puppies with wild eyes and tongue-lolling grins.
Both Bling and Molly had their babies on Thursday. Molly early in the morning, Bling late in the evening. Molly’s kind of a pro and a bit wild at heart, so she passed on the maternity ward and chose instead to hide in the brush pile. I knew I’d find a baby when I couldn’t find Molly. Now, you’d need to see her to appreciate just what a wide load Molly is. And if you did, you’d see what a feat it is for her to make herself invisible. Since it was a warm, dry and sunny day, Molly and Max spent their first day napping together in the sun.
For Bling, it was a different kind of day.
Bling is young and this is just her second calf. She’s such a goofball, with her funny way of always seeming surprised, it’s hard to know what to expect from her. She was fussy all day, pacing up and down and going off by herself. She was still fussing at dinnertime and I wanted to be able to grab her if things weren’t going well, so I locked her inside the barn and everyone else out.
After a few hours of discomfort and fussiness, hello Beatrice! Once she was up, licked & fed, I was able to lock them inside a stall. Then, everyone else could come back in for the night and I could finally head in for my dinner.
Friday morning, all’s looking good – the Ladies are outside eating hay and Bling’s looking perky but calm, peeking over her stall for room service. Zay, as usual, was trolling around outside the stall looking for ways to steal Bling’s breakfast.
I didn’t see the baby right away, but the hay was piled up pretty high, and napping babies tuck down pretty low. Since Bling wasn’t fussing, there didn’t seem to be any cause for alarm. But, when I filled the water buckets and I still couldn’t see any little lumps, I went in and started pawing through the hay. I still can’t believe it, but it’s true. No baby. Anywhere inside the barn.
Now, clearly it’s not impossible, but pretty unbelievable.
Trying not to panic, I head out towards the herd at the hay bales. Where could she be? Well, over by the bales, tucked into the brambles was a tiny lump. There she was, curled up, all alone, taking a power nap. How did she get there? It’s such an unlikely hike for a brand newbie with no clue about where she is. Well, I have no witnesses, but I’m pretty sure I know what went down.
I haven’t told you much about our Zay-monster. Good thing she’s so amazingly beautiful, because her only other endearing quality is the fact that she’s such an outstanding mother. So outstanding in fact, she steals other Lady’s babies.
Suki had her baby first this year, and she doesn’t take crap from Zay. Molly’s a little scared of Zay, but she hasn’t forgotten her wild ways and still has a few tricks up her sleeve. But Bling? Bling’s no match for a troll like Zay.
Bling takes candy from strangers, and will tell anybody anything if they scratch her chin and tell her how pretty she is. It seems Bling’s little one slipped out under the gate and Zay spirited her off and hid her in the brambles.
Unscathed by her adventure, little Beatrice wasn’t having any parts of letting me get close enough to pick her up and carry her back to her mom in the barn. So, I went for plan B – lock up the kidnapper and turn Bling out for some undisturbed maternal bonding. Happy mom that she is, Bling went running straight to Beatrice & resumed her so rudely interrupted motherly duties.
Whew – another day survived with just a few minor incidents. Soon enough these little ones will pick their own favorite spots, stop crashing into the fences and become much more predictable. Can’t happen soon enough for me.