Saturday, August 28, 2010

river of hope

Our cow had her calf today. It was an event to say the least. Tabitha has been on *high alert* for over a month week. This build up to bovine crescendo was tedious. Fraught with worry of worst case scenarios Jocelyn gave birth without a hitch. She is a genetic-old-pro.

A whole new set of worries can now consume. We are selling the calf. I admit she is a show-calf and opportunities like her are infrequent. A beautiful heifer--she glows like Jocelyn did when she was born. Kassi is smitten to a degree that only little girls can achieve. I told her that Jocelyn's next daughter is hers. This time is too early. Kassi won't be old enough to milk her in two years, but maybe in three. It isn't that she couldn't take care of her everyday. It boils down to stamina. Milking takes stamina.

It is really hard for me to say no to my only little girl. She understands, in a little girl way. Mostly she loves that calf but abides daddies wishes. It was magic watching the birth. Toly learned volumes today. We have always explained where babies come from but he never believed it. Today was a epiphany. I could see the wheels turning in his brain. I love my boy.

Tristan thought it was really cool "it was like a rainbow on a cloudy day." Where does he come up poetic metaphors at eight? Rome thought it was a huge poo for a while. Of course he did.. Kassi named the calf River. She is the resident namer of things. She has a gift.

Our friend Janet has first option on this calf. She is exercising her option. Even with other interested parties if Janet declined we'd be keeping River.  We need the money, I'll admit it. Jocelyn needs pricey feed for the winter. I can't help but think of Rumpelstiltskin, trading a winters food for the first born.  Kassi and Tabitha are both harboring something subconscious and bitter toward me right now. I accepted Janet's offer to purchase. We set the price, well $50 less than my buyout was.

How much would it cost you to have your daughter and significant-other disappointed with you?

We agreed for the past ten months that we weren't keeping the calf under ANY circumstances. I repeat "UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES." Our farm is too small for a second cow. Our system won't support another cow this is especially true in this economy.

Here are some gratuitous baby calf photos.

the first breath.

the impatient pile

tongue bath

rome took a kitten break.

the dogs were anxious to meet their new charge.

Kassi still had hope that she was keeping River in this photo

Angel the kitten.

true love..........


Anonymous said...

It's tough being the "bad guy", but good to know your limits. Milk along with all you other home grown goodies will make some good eats for the winter.


Pablo said...

Wonderful story full of hard choices.

Rachael said...

Just a quiet word from another bad guy. Our calf is almost three months old and I have to remind my husband almost EVERY morning as we do chores that we are not able to have two cows on our place. We'll beef ours when she's big enough, and I think watching her grow up is pretty painful to him.

Woody said...

What an awesome post. It simply made me feel good taking this in.


Erin said...

Wonderful photos! Hang in there, you will be forgiven! I still remember our first year lambing when I was young and how I felt when they were sold after nursing some of them in the basement during a cold January winter when we lost some of the ewes... I understand now and I'm stronger for it, daddy is forgiven :)!

Ron said...

Congrats, glad to hear it all happened without any problems. After so much anticipation, I'm sure it's awfully hard to let go. Best in the long-run, though.


Wendy said...

Ugh! I'm sorry. Being the 'bad guy' is no fun. My husband and I often swap the title, but usually we're both the 'bad guy' and when we've made the decision we're unrelenting. I'm sure it drives our girls batty :).

Although, we've been saying NO CATS for a couple of years, now, and yet, there's this slinky black feline basking in a sunny window in the living room ;).

Thank you for sharing such a wonderful moment with your family, and as others have said - it's good to really know what your homestead can support, because as you said ... in this economy none of us can afford more than we need.

Ed said...

I grew up that way knowing the cycle of life and not being able to keep every animal. Now my daughter is growing up in a town oblivious to all this. We make frequent trips to the farm to teach her these things but it isn't the same. Your children have it good Karl. Keep up the good work!

Walter Jeffries said...

Congrats on the new calf and good birth! We want to get cows someday. We drink enough milk to keep one busy. She looks beautiful.

karl said...

Sheila, Indeed our larder and inflow of good things to eat is promising.

Pablo & Erin, Kassi has already forgiven me. Her strife will likely be rekindled tomorrow when Janet comes to pick River up.

Rachael, Tabitha and I balance each other out well. I am not always the bad guy but definitely more often than her.

Woody, Thanks it was a stressful day.

Ron, Yes, best in the long run.

Wendy, We are covered up with cats. Luckily our road is a dangerous place and there is plenty of attrition.

Ed, That is exactly why we moved here and left the big city. There were many sacrifices *money* but worth the childhood my kids are getting.

Walter, I wish we lived closer to you we could trade milk for piglets.

tansy said...

i completely understand having to draw the line and be the 'heavy' in the situation. i have to do it several times a year when our goats kid. but, if we didn't, we'd be like a friend of mine who went from 3 goats to 13 in one season and then realized she couldn't sustain them, all because she couldn't say no to her son. lesson learned, painfully.

and, now i've put my foot down and i'm 'cleaning house' and getting rid of ALL the sheep, making myself unpoplar with my other half. but sheesh, we can only do so much and our land can only support so much.

karl said...

Tansy, I hope it is easier for you being the person that does the majority of the animal husbandry to draw the line. Difficult at best but a necessity.

kentuckyagrarianwannabe said...

Great post Karl, the pictures of the dogs looking in under the door "Priceless".

The Smiling Rabbit said...

Great Post!! Sweet pictures


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