February 18, 2009

When we got home from the farm, we found that Jackson had destroyed a library book. He gnashed it to bits, all over our living room floor. I told the children that one should expect to lose at least three items for every puppy. Puppies chew. I noted to myself that had Jackson been crated, I would not be buying a busted book. It is possible I spoke too harshly about people who crate dogs. Crates have their place and I apologise, though they are often abused and some people who rely on them have shallow morals. Henry cracked me up. He said, "If Jackson were a kid, I would say he needs a guidance counselor." But this was only the end of our morning.

When we got to the barn, this morning, I noticed one cow in the back pasture who was frantic. She was pacing and lowing. I walked down to her, right away. She came all the way up to me, her eyes huge, her face imploring. I turned and went directly to the farm house. All the adults came pouring out. That cow had a calf last night. Where is the calf. We searched the pasture, the fence line - inside and out, everywhere. No calf.

Instead, we found another mother cow in labor. It was pouring rain and I had the children waiting for me in the barn. I trotted up to get them so they could watch this cow deliver. When we returned, the farmer's wife was calling for a lead rope and possibly a rope to pull the calf. Something was wrong. By the time we returned with the farmer and rope, the calf was born. But still born. We have no clue why. We stood in the rain and pondered.

Back in the barn, one goat is waiting to kid. Since there is an obvious predator a foot, a big one at that, we've corralled the last pregnant cow up near the barn. They've never lost a calf to a predator on the farm. It is a shocking blow. Nothing small takes a live calf. We all felt sad.

So we loved up Mama Goat, tended our few small chores and started home for hot cocoa. In the car, Riley reviewed our morning, exciting but sad. She ended her synopsis with an unexpected detail. While the adults were busy with the cows, she was attacked by the rooster. It hit her so hard it made a hole in her leg and she was bleeding. All the time we were on the farm, she never said a word. I was so surprised, I almost stopped the car. I said, "Darling, the rooster attacked you?!" She nodded affirmative. Her eyes were huge and teary but her face was set and stoic. She is one tough little buckaroo, I'll tell you what. She said, "I climbed the fence and he thought I was going to jump on him, so he ran away. I think he needs to go in the stew pot."

I can't think of a richer education for these children, than mornings on this farm.


MOM #1 said...

What a sad morning, but educational. But so sad. I hope you're able to find what is getting your animals. It must really be something. Kinda scary.

rae said...

Good lord, K. Something is definitely wrong. Too many babies getting/being lost - one way or the other.

One thing is for sure though, nothing is being lost on your babies. The richness of it all is so amazing.

Anonymous said...

I'll put that damn rooster in the stew pot. Don't attack my baby girl!!

Katherine said...

They found the calf! Mother Farm Cowgirl Goddess found the baby cold, wet, alone, in the pasture. I can't explain what happened, but we are all grateful. Mama and Baby are stalled now.

Note to self: when a baby is lost on the farm, look and look and then LOOK AGAIN.

carver family said...

Mother Farm Cowgirl Goddess

that would be you??

of course it is.


Katherine said...

Oh, thank you C, but not by a loooooong mile. I'm speaking of The owner of the farm. Mrs. Farm Goddess, whom I just watch and learn.

Anonymous said...

incredible...just incredible. Incredible cow, goat, and incredible Henry and Riley learnin' about life. Lucky woman. Lucky family. You have so much to embrace Katherine! I wanna be you when I grow up!

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad the baby was found and safe. It helps in a way to make up for other lost animal babies... and tell Riley I am horrified a bird attacked her! I felt so bad for her, reading this. Those birds can be aggressive and it's scary! Tell her I think I think she's a brave kid. love V