I put layers on this morning and went out to the woodshed to toss some firewood into the sled . The Boss yelled over, "Go see what's on the porch!"
"What? Tell me," I said.
"Nope, go look," he said.
"You're such a brat," I told him.
"Thank you," he tossed over his shoulder, on his way out to break ice on a large ice bucket for last spring's crop of young jerseys. They all have winter coats, fuzzy and adoreable.
So I went to their back porch and saw nothing but a collection of tastefully arranged garbage bags ready for the dump. I walked back over to the barn and told him so. He looked at me, and "Come on, silly woman," and led me to the room they process milk in. It's enclosed and has a stove, washer, dryer, sink, and work tables. It's a room to me. To him, it's a porch. OK. Language barrier. I followed him in the door, he pointed toward the floor, but all I saw was a pile of towels. Then an amber colored towel moved, raised its head and looked at me with huge brown eyes under mile-long eyelashes. She blinked. You could tell this was a she.
One of the two new cows that came in trade from Serenity (she wasn't a bit serene) dropped a calf before dawn. Fortunately this polite lady dropped her cute little girl (heiffer) in the barn, and not in the zero temperature snow, where she would surely have died. The Boss found her in the dark, picked her up and brought her into their "back porch" where the stove would keep the new little girl warm. They clean her up, whatever the mother didn't get around to. By the time I saw her, she was like a bovine Bambi, fuzzy and beautiful.
She already likes being petted on her curly forehead. She is amber color on her head and back, fading out as you move down to honey, then coffee with cream. Her hoofs are soft, like very old jello forgotten in the fridge. We have to help her stand up, as things are not working well yet. Apparently this is common with Jerseys. She flops her feet around, trying to understand what the purpose of these long appendages might be. She looks down, puzzled, but keeps trying, waving them around like magic wands. She gets her mother's milk, but from a bottle. Mama's job is to produce milk now, and her little girl's job is to eat and grow and be pettedd.
The Boss's wife says that we are lucky that she only weighs around 50-60 lbs. When they had black angus, the babys would pop out at 150 Lbs, immediately eating from mamma, and chewing on hay. They came out strong.
When they bred angus, they would try to breed the girls to a relatively small bull. If the calf is too large, and the mother has a hard time birthing, she won't get up and take care of the calf. And a 150 lb. angus is hard to manage. What they want when breeding is a small father so that the baby calf just sort of squirts out with little drama and inconvenience to mom.
The Boss's wife dragged the rug little girl lay on about 8 feet away from the stove. If they get overheated, they can get pneumonia. Little girl didn't seem to mind the ride.
As I sat there by the stove, petting her, she looked up at me. Since they had not named her yet, I said, "You were born on January 3, 2011. You are a Blessing, and God loves you best." They do know their names. I can call out to Violet and Chuck and they look up, see me, and come over.
Speaking of Violet (aka Shirley McLaine), cows have a firm pecking order. It was not so long ago when Violet was the new kid on the pasture, and she was constantly in a bad mood. Now with Precious and Serenity gone, Violet is the Queen of the cows. Baby girl Blessing's mother wanted a drink of water from the large bin that is kept melted and drinkable. Violet nudges her away and won't let her in. Eventually Blessing's mother will have to get tough, but for now, Shirley McLaine is back and playing Number 1 Bitch.
Codependent that I am, I went out and swatted Violet/Shirley with a pot holder to get her to move, but it didn't last long. Blessing's mom is going to have to get down and kiss Violet/Shirley's hooves before she gets accepted.
Chuck has several of their ladies knocked up, so it's going to be a busy winter. They will be company for Blessing, who will be alone in the barn once she can go outside of the house. Meanwhile Chuck grows larger with more curls on his forehead. He dances and spins and leaps when I go out to talk with him. His head comes through the barbed wire reaching to be petted. After a minute, I back off, as I'm afraid he will pop the barbed wire one day in his increasing size and strength. He just wants to play, knock me over and roll me around a little. It seems mean and selfish to disappoint him. A more joyous animal I have never seen.
Some day they will let him breed Blessing. She couldn't have a better husband.