Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Not all Sunshine!

Reason, alas does not move mountains.
It only tries to walk around them,
and see what is on the other side.
         George William Russell

   
  
Every morning at first light just like clockwork I head downstairs to pull on my coveralls, my vest, my Pink Cadillac Boots and I actually take my time and take great pleasure in choosing from one of those four knitted hats that hang on the rack. I know this sounds strange but in farming as in life I believe that you should take those little joys where you can find them, sounds simple but sometimes it is what will get you through those unexpected things life may throw at you.

Early one morning last week I pulled on the green and white fuzzy hat that made the cows smile the very first time I wore it, I was going to wear my Spring Flowers from Montana Hat which always makes me smile until I looked out the window and seen a thick coat of frost covering everything and the hat being cotton, well the decision was made. I walked out the door with a smile ready for my world and whatever it had in store for me.


That so called spring morning (I am wondering about that word spring) while trudging through mud and ice I opened the gate grabbed a couple of bales and took them to the cows. I tend to count and feed at the same time. Let me tell you it is very very hard to count running calves but I am getting better at it, practice makes perfect as my Grandma used to say. The calf count was one off and the cow count was one off I immediately scanned the cows and noticed it was No Ears who was missing, I know this sounds like a strange name but she was named as a bottle fed abandoned calf and lost the tips of her ears when she was rescued one cold January morning long ago.

Now, No Ears had given us a lovely healthy curly white calf the day before and knowing some cows on instinct still insist on hiding their calves for a couple of days and isolate themselves from the herd I was not worried. I finished feeding quickly and then parked the tractor and turned it off, I stepped down and immediately two little white calves bolted past me making me smile and laugh out loud as they kicked up there hooves and bolted in the other direction. I walked over to the knoll not very far from those fully involved with the picking of the best morsels of hay cows and that is where I saw No Ears standing and looking down.

I was still thinking she was keeping her calf away from the herd as per her usual. The little curly white calf was curled up on the hay and appeared to be sleeping. I walked closer but No Ears, totally out of character for her, charged at me seemingly to protect her calf; I backed off and stayed away. I came to the conclusion at this time something was not right because she was too protective and the calf did not lift its head.


I went about my normal routine of walking among the other cows and checking for signs that anything was going on with the Moms to be and then I watched as No Ears finally walked over to the hay and slid between two cows and began picking through the bale of hay, she was distracted so this was my chance. I quickly headed over to the new curly white calf curled up in the hay. It turned out the poor little bull was not sleeping, it looked like he had just passed away peacefully in his sleep; we may never know the reason. This sometimes happens in calving, there were no marks on him and even though I know it was just one of those fluke things that makes farm life extremely hard and still brings even after so many years of farming those tears, it is a fact of life.

No Ears must have noticed me hovering over her calf so she bolted back towards me; I hurried away knowing she needed this time. I pulled my cellphone out of my pocket and phoned My Hero to tell him the sad news, he told me to stay away from No Ears and he would give the calf a proper burial when he came home. I promised I would as I watched from a distance a huge flock of crows fly over No Ears and her calf as she continued to lick its ear, tears flowed down my cheek. I seem to think that every time something like this happens that I am going to be tougher than the time before but I guess I will never get used to it.


Yes there are a lot of highs and lows in farming and as a matter of fact life in general, it can never be all sunny days but I truly believe we have to make the best of those days and moments that make us smile and laugh out loud and try to get through those sad ones as best we can.


The sun was shining and it started to warm up, I pulled off my fuzzy green hat and stuffed it in my vest and walked amongst the new calves that ran, jumped and chased each other and I smiled, yes this is the sunny moment I will focus on. I wipe that stray tear from my cheek with my dirty leather glove; life goes on. Rest in peace little guy.

Later 

43 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear about the loss of your calf. I, too, hope that death on the farm will get easier, but it does't. Not really. Except now I've gained the wisdom (as have you) that these things happen, sometimes (often?) for no reason at all. I figure that toughening myself up would only serve to harden and close down my heart, so I stay open and accept the tears when they come. It's good to take joy in the little things -- in farming and in life! Beautiful post and photos. Thank you for sharing.

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  2. Nothing sadder than a long awaited arrival leaving us too too soon. Poor Mama.

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  3. I think you probably wouldn't like the person you'd be if you didn't shed a tear for the wee guy...a heart which cannot let tears flow can never experience joy either. Personally, one of the things which I admire most about you is your tender heart Buttons. *hugs*

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  4. I've always wondered how farmers deal with the deaths of their animals. Now I know...
    Hugs and tender thoughts to you as you watch the other calves playing!!

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  5. So sorry to hear about your calf :(
    I have had some of those moments this Spring with lambing.
    hugs!

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  6. Sorry to hear about the little guy not making it. Was this No Ears first calf?

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  7. Oh my the poor thing and I wonder what the mum is thinking..hugs xxxx

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  8. "Go joyfully, among the sorrows of the world." ~Joseph Campbell. That's been on my mind, a lot, of late.

    Usually, this would be thought of, as being/happening in "our" world.
    But it applies, in the world, where man/woman and animals reside, as well.

    The calf dying, is a real sorrow. But you are wise enough to know, not to dwell there, too long. Wise enough to know, that we must, must, must grab on to the little joys, whenever we can.

    "Go joyfully, among the sorrows of the world."

    Tessa~

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  9. Oh poor No Ears. It must be hard on her. Sorry you all lost one.

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  10. Oh, I'm sorry, Buttons and No Ears! I think it's so sad, how they keep on licking them, as if they're just hoping they raise up their little heads and wiggle their ears. That motherly instinct. Hugs!

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  11. oh gosh buttons...i am heartbroken for you and no ears :(

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  12. awww Buttons, I'm so sorry for your loss and for No Ears. So sad.

    Cindy Bee

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  13. So sad losing a calf Buttons! HUGS!!

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  14. What a gift you have. One would never think that life among cows could read like the best novel. You have captured the joy and sadness of all life as it is lived out here among the cows. You are a kind woman who has been given a gift. A gift to show us what it is like living with cows, living on a farm, knitting hats, and not giving up when the going gets tough.

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  15. Oh that's so sad. Poor No Ears. Times like this makes you wonder about animals. Does she realise what happened? Will she grieve etc. Sorry B.

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  16. i'm sorry for the loss. i know she will mourn...

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  17. I am so sorry, I can feel your pain and though it will pass and you will find new joy that I know my heart break for you, the mom and the baby that didn't survive...and I know you'll pick up tomorrow and take care of those who need it... You are a loving, generous, bright Soul!

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  18. I'm sorry for your loss. It's always very disappointing when these little guys are lost. You end up blaming yourself.

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  19. I'm so sorry about the little calf. It hurts and knowing No Ears hurts makes it even more sad. Beautifully written post, B. Take care.

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  20. I'm so sorry about the calf and his mourning mom. I guess my dad went through this mix of life and death while farming for so many years. but he didn't talk much about it. Bless you, B, for your caring heart.

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  21. Awe I am so sorry for this. No you never get used to it completely. Poor No Ears she will mourn for awhile. I always hated to hear the mournful cries from a mother cow. You said she needed that time. I could not help but know I needed that time with my grandmother when she passed. I kissed her, hugged her and stroked her hair. Never thought I would ever be able to be around a loved one that was gone. But I found comfort in it. A similarity between humans and mammals.

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  22. Those babies are the sweetest!
    Lynne

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  23. I'm sorry, Buttons. There are certainly difficult things about farming life - like you said, it's a balance. Hopefully, with more good things than bad. Enjoy your frisky calves and a sweet bon voyage to the little white guy.

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  24. So sorry for the loss of this little calf , It is all part of farm life I know all to well but still upsetting ! Lovely photos . Thanks for sharing . Have a good week !

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  25. Grace, what a loss, both for you as a farmer, and the poor mother cow. All that time and effort invested by both of you, and then to lose the calf...you are not the only one saddened over this loss.

    Jen

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  26. It's very sad B, sorry it had to happen. The way you described it as just in life is so true.
    Having empathy, compassion and feelings has its downsides at these times but then those emotions enable us to savour the good times as well, and to look forward - just as you have also said.
    Hugs to you, and good wishes for a healthy calf next season for No Ears :D)

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  27. So, so sorry for the loss of the calf. Can't imagine the grief of the cow. And yours. Hugs.

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  28. I am sorry for your loss and for No Ear's loss. She will be at a loss for awhile. So sad to hear this. :-((

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  29. So sorry. It is always rough to lose the little buggers. Even more when you don't have a chance to try and help them. I'm glad you let No Ears have some time with her baby.

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  30. Oh my gosh, that must be hard for both you and No Ears. Life is so tough sometimes.

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  31. So sorry to learn of your loss, Buttons. Dealing with life, whether human or animal, is not all sunshine. Birth and death happen regularly, sometimes far too close together. Sorry for your little guy, and No Ears.

    We have had a significant downpour all day. I went of to the university without a umbrella, thinking the rain would be light all day. Came out of our meeting in mid-afternoon and got thoroughly soaked walking across campus to my car.

    Blessings and Bear hugs!

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  32. B,

    Even though it's part of living on a farm, it's still very hard to lose a baby calf. I'm so sorry this little one didn't make it.
    Sending hugs your way ((((Buttons))))

    Your Friend,

    Sandy

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  33. How sad that No Ears lost her calf!

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  34. A poignant picture of real daily life on a farm. I am always saddened when a calf is lost. I'm so sorry. I also understood your need to find just the right hat for the day.

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  35. Well now I am honestly with tears in my eyes.
    No Ears did need that time , didn't she.
    Hugs B.,
    Willow

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  36. As a former farm girl I will never forget the mournful sound of a cow who has lost or had her calf taken away. They grieve just as we do. Lovely expression of this sad scene.

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  37. So sad, Buttons - all mother's feel grief and I feel so sad for No Ears. Hopefully she will enjoy the other calves as they grow and have another one of her own next year. Nature is harsh, but wise, and we just have to trust. xo Karen

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  38. I totally agree with your statement 'life in general,can never be all sunny days but we have to make the best of those days and moments that make us smile and laugh out loud' This idea reminds me of what I have been reading about mindfulness. The importance of being in touch with our senses and appreciating the good and accepting the not so good.

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  39. After reading this I don't think I will forget no ears in a hurry. Yes small things like these make a life worth living.
    I don't have a collection of hats, but its high time I got a few for myself.

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  40. What a sad post, B. My eyes filled with tears reading about no ears licking her poor dead calf.

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  41. I find it sad to hear of the loss of the calf, and I haven't even seen it. I'm glad you have a tender heart toward your animals, though it has to be hard to see them like that. Thankfully you had other bouncing babies to help you focus on the good side.

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The mind grows by what it feeds on. J.G. Holland

Thank you so much for your comments, they mean more to me then I could ever express. Hug B

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