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Tuesday, January 06 2015

Until yesterday this calf didn't know a life without cold mud except inside her mother's womb.

I felt so bad for her because she was born a night before a front brought three inches of cold rain, and left 6 inches of cold mud. Since this was all she knew, the calf navigated the mud like a snowboarding teenager.

These pictures were taken days ago, before she plumped up, but it wasn't until yesterday that she felt the warm kiss of the sun on her back. And today, after a second day of sunshine, she really bloomed. I had moved the cattle to a drier pasture and she was enjoying the thrill of galloping across dry ground. (Relatively dry ground. Well, not really, but compared to 6 inches of mud, it was dry ground!)

I named the calf, Radio. Other Half doesn't bother, but I name all the calves that stand out for some reason. Radio stands out for me because her mother is Delta the Flying Cow. Since Radio is almost solid red, and her mother is the Flying Cow, I named her after the little red wagon, the Radio Flyer.

Yes, my mind takes strange and convoluted paths to a particular destination. Yes, I know it's a stupid name, but come on, she's a cow - it's not like she's gonna answer to it. And you're talking to a person who has a sheep named Flower Pot because she got a pot stuck on her head, and another sheep named Chuck because she got "stuck like chuck" under a truck. Names help me remember their stories.

So her name will be Radio, daughter of Delta the Flying Cow who jumped out of a fancy auction arena.

Delta is proving to be a most attentive mother - really attentive - really, really, really dangerously attentive.

Delta is a Braford, a breed whose roots go back to the meaty Hereford and the wily Brahma. (Hereford: Big red meat cattle with white faces. Brahma: hardy, long-eared Indian cattle who jump fences, good mothers/very smart/can be trouble)

I think the Braford combines the best of these breeds, and Delta is a perfect example. Despite the fact that she jumped out the arena during the auction, she's never given us a bit of trouble. She is smart and perfectly reasonable around the farm. She gave birth to a big calf with no assistance in the delivery. Read: Will You Help Me Flip A Cow?

Because she got cast in the round bale of hay, she was immobilized when her calf stood up and wandered around the pasture. She was smart enough to know I was trying to help her when I put ropes on her legs and flipped her. She didn't kick me. (I really appreciate that. Score another one for Delta.) And as soon as she struggled to her feet, she limped off to claim the calf she knew was hers.

Since that night she has kept a careful eye on Radio. And so it was that I was in the pasture this afternoon filling up water troughs while Briar puttered around the barnyard. I was vaguely aware that Radio was motoring around the back pasture. Briar was sniffing around the arena, and I was deep in a phone conversation.

It wasn't until my eye landed on Delta trotting in from the back pasture like a war horse that I even took much notice of Radio, but I followed Delta's suspicious glare straight to Radio, who was standing beside Briar.

Oh. Shit.


Double shit.

Briar was in her own little world, completely oblivious to the fact that a cute bear cub was standing behind her and an enraged grizzly was charging their direction.

I called to Briar. She flicked an ear but continued her olfactory inventory of the arena. I glanced back at Delta. She was covering ground fast and was about to turn Briar into a white greasy spot in the pasture. This was serious shit, and Briar was having a Pyrenees moment.

I screamed at her. The cow was trotting faster. Briar still ignored me.

 "La dee daaa, la dee daaaa."

She finally looked at me just as Delta entered the back of the arena. I pleaded with her to hurry.

"This is serious shit, Briar. Come! I mean NOW! Really, really NOW!"

 "Now? Like now, at this moment in time? Or now, as in this week? Now is such a relative term, don't you think? Have you studied Einstein's Theory Of Relativity? Space and time should really be considered together and in relation to each other."

By this time Briar had decided to amble toward me to further discuss Einstein and was trying to find a way to get through the boards. Delta was gaining ground fast. Briar was oblivious to the Volkswagon Bus intent on killing her. It wasn't looking good, but just as the dog slid between the boards, Radio lost interest and turned back to greet her mother. Delta slid to a halt and shook her fist at Briar's furry butt, which was then on the other side of the fence, wiggling in my direction.

I think I need to call my hair dresser and color the new gray hairs which turned today and I think I have a stomach ulcer.

Until Radio gets some age on her, Briar has been banished from the pasture. The sheep will just have to count on Delta to protect them. Something tells me they'll be just fine. And Delta has proven that when her calf is ready to be weaned, she can be moved to the ranch up north to have her next baby. I would not want to be a coyote caught trying to steal Delta's baby.

So yes, maybe Delta has a wee bit more Brahma in her, and Brahma cattle do jump over fences, but no one, no one, NO ONE, messes with their calves.

 "What are you looking at?!"


Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 08:03 pm   |  Permalink   |  5 Comments  |  Email
I think I felt a few hairs turn on my own head while I was reading.
Posted by Patty on 01/07/2015 - 07:35 PM
Whew! Kind of held my breath hoping for a happy ending. Glad Briar is okay. Being a city person I have no idea what is on a ear tag and didn't even realize for a while that you were covering them up in your photos (just thought you were 'decorating' your pictures).
Posted by Sharon on 01/09/2015 - 11:00 PM
Delta appears to be the perfect opposite of the crack-head cow mother. Your writing really helps us understand their very distinct and different personalities!
Posted by Michigan Sister on 01/10/2015 - 10:04 AM
Thank you! I like to see their personalities. Cows like Delta are the kind I want to breed. I'm still amazed that Paisley the Crackhead's calf survived this year because they are all up with the predators in north Texas. I guess the mothers like Delta are protecting Paisley's calf.
Posted by forensicfarmgirl on 01/10/2015 - 10:14 AM
I bet you're right about that!
Posted by Patty on 01/10/2015 - 08:06 PM

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