Monday, April 19, 2010

The new calf

The new calf is named Caramel.   I named her for her beautiful caramel color.

This morning I went out and fed her a bit more colostrum by hand, then milked the cows.  After I was done, I gave her a bit more colostrum.  While I suspicioned that she might have already eaten on her own, I hadn't seen her suckle.  The first 48 hours of a calf's life are very important, and she must get colostrum in order to get her own immune system going, now that she is without the protection of the womb.

When I was done cleaning up, I went back out for one more visit with Caramel.  She was standing, wobbling slightly, by her mother's side and going for the udder.  For once, Smarty Pants was standing still.  I got a few flakes of hay to keep her occupied while Caramel groped around.  Finally, contact!  No doubt of it, Caramel knew what she was doing.  I watched her for a few minutes, smiling the whole while.

Farming is a hard life.  I get tired.  Yesterday was a case in point.  I needed my Sunday off, and I didn't get it due to Caramel's birth.  After a long day, I brought in six quarts of milk and was skimming off the cream for my coffee and maybe some butter if I didn't use it all up for my cuppas.  I was exhausted, and as I turned from the counter where I was skimming, my sleeve caught on the pint jar of cream and overturned it, down the front of the stove, onto my kitchen rug.  I know, don't cry over spilt milk.  But it's okay to cry over spilt CREAM, isn't it?  I cried.  It was just too much.

This morning, when I saw Caramel latch onto her mother, when I knew she was going to be okay, then I knew that it's all worth it.

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