Saturday, June 26, 2010

We've been outnumbered

Three bull calves drinking milk from this 'New Zealand style' calf nurser

Dusty on a dewey morning


I guess when I say 'we' I am referring to the three female cows, Normandy and myself. Let me explain. We initially bought three Kerry cows. Shortly thereafter we purchased three bull calves. So, at that time, there were three bull calves, three cows, two wives and two husbands; a gender neutral farm give or take a few chickens. Two of those three cows were pregnant. That was the wild card. There was a 50% chance that we would remain in balance. Juno had a bull calf on June 19th leaving it for Sable to decide. Today Garth and Edmund came in from feeding the cows and announced that Sable had calved early this morning. "A heifer?" I asked. "No, a bull calf."

It is an overcast afternoon. The clouds carry on in an apathetic way, as though they forget they're raining, but it's too late to stop. Garth and I walked to the barn where the cows were all gathered. Lucky and Dusty were lying together at the open door (we named the three bull calves after the 'Three Amigos': Lucky Day, Ned Nederlander, and Dusty Bottoms). The two nursing mothers lay with their calves. The newest one (still yet un-named) has the intense and stricken look that comes with being born. The whites of his eyes are still visible. He is as tall as 'Borg' at the hip despite being a week his junior. His legs are long and gangly. There were a few chickens making their way along the edge of the barn and he stood up and stumbled over to them, inadvertently chasing them away. He has a couple of white spots here and there, a testament to the vast genetic possibilities latent within even something as carefully managed as a cow with a pedigree. If we decide to raise one of them as a bull, it looks from here like 'Borg' is the better candidate. He is entirely black and compactly built, but there is much to be seen.

While two heifers would have been quite fancy, and one out of two would have been grand, I am not discontent with our lot. How could I be, when the dams are so well and their calves are beside them?


1 comment:

  1. I want Dusty!!!! I love, Love, LOVE that big white band all across his middle section. I think Half-Pint would be a good middle name for him. I'm not sure why since he obviously needs to be called Panda Bear or something having to do with being cut in two and put back together with some cow's other middle. I think he's the best...not that it's good to pick favorites, but I sure think he's right up my alley all piece-meal together. Patchwork like. I can't wait to some day...ahhhhh...some day meet him in person....Congrats on all the babes, sorry you didn't get girls. Of course I'm wondering what will happen to the new market to market???? xoxoUndine