Here's the little calf from Watsonville that we brought to the farm to join the pack this past Wednesday. New calf is pictured here, meeting Sissy (who has no business in the cow domain.) This little new paddock member's name is Indy and she's from our friends Freddie and Ellen. Little Indy is one half miniature dexter and one half miniature jersey. This makes her very small "jerster." All signs point to her indeed being a very tiny cow, enough so we are wondering if she does become a dairy cow how the heck will we milk her?
Oh bother, we'll deal with this if it's a problem later-- in the meantime neighbor Jimmy is getting Indy accepting of a halter and hopefully teaching her to follow us humans on a lead. Jimmy did this well with her cousin Fred. He is a big sweetheart still (the cow that is, the neighbor Jimmy too but talking here about the cow,) friendly with his human family, so hopefully he (back to the neighbor now) will be equally successful with little Indy. She (Indy,) does do a funny thing though that Fred didn't do. She flips over on her back or collapse her legs, flopping over in protest of our training efforts. Jimmy seems to be familiar with this behavior and says this is what heifers do. Just heifers, huh?
The same day we brought Miss Indy to the farm we also stole away with Bambi's daughter, 1/2 jersey 1/2 angus, 8 month old heifer, Lucy. So it was not until the following Saturday night we enjoyed our first relatively quiet night. Since Wednesday this place has reverberated with the very unhappy sounds of Momma Bambi looking for her girl, Lucy, and new calf, Indy bellowing for the home she was born on and the mother she was with the morning before.
We've come to learn cows are loud and persistent and have an uncanny timing with their relentless calls when things are not to their liking. Just when the drift of sleep sweeps in, Bambi has that perfect, not-so-comedic timing, knowing when to let her bellow rip. And this place 'aint called Echo Valley for nothing. Oh, and the little red barn, sited in the lowest point of our meadow's "bowl?" Well it is the perfect echo chamber and Bambi's figured out how to make full use of the acoustic advantage that chamber offers. Greeeaaatttt.
And just to reassure; we do have compassion for our four legged farm mates. We appreciate that these big sweetheart gals have deep, deep feelings. They profoundly love their fellow herd mates. They love a day in the sunshine, fresh grass and moo like crazy when their big bellies are only a tad too empty or wail with profound distress when they see their beloved offspring taken away from them. We share their distress and dread knowing the time to interfere in their lives and disrupt their family bonds has come. We don't separate them early, we try to give them longer and longer times apart before the big and final separation happens.
Fortunate for us and our animal kin too that we can offer them open air and good food and freedom to be cows and with their kind. Even though this is a for-the-love-of-it farm we too have to make hard choices as we only have a finite amount of room at this micro farm and so have to make unhappy choices to send some loved animals away. Here too, growing food, particularly when your employees are big doe eyed cows can be emotionally tough.
Today though, the grieving seems to have passed, at least what is visible to us humans. Bambi has taken to little Indy and Indy follows Queen Bambi as a dutiful pack member and appears quietly content to hang with the "big girls." We are grateful the switch is made, sorry for the unhappiness we caused our four legged pals, learned to invest in earplugs, and thankful for our understanding neighbors who don't seem to mind living next door to our reverberating valley in Loma Mar. Whew.