Saturday, July 12, 2008

We “don’ know nuthin’ ‘bout birthin’ no babies”

We started the day wondering what will happen when the price of oil and gas exceeds reasonable affordability. It was a strange conversation for the one you’d have even before you got out of bed. But a lot of our weekends start out with similar conversations. We decided that we’d probably ease back into a more agrarian lifestyle, little by little, with modified expectations about what is really essential.

That’s us in the picture under Tom and Jorg. Together, along with a menagerie of animals and 50 acres we make up Triskelion Farm in beautiful Southside, VA, where the grass grows in horizontal rows, convenient for baling. The other somewhat notable feature of our farm is the fact that it serves as the intake farm for the White Bird Appaloosa Horse Rescue. Rescuing urgent need horses has been our passion for some years.

It’s been a good day so far. We have three people who wish to adopt horses, and the distress call we received for two others is one we can probably help with.

The cows, Bessie and Rosebud, are still pregnant. Not long ago, we revised our view of “really essential” to include the ability to produce more of our own food. Because we are humanely inclined and know something about factory farming, we decided to produce our own dairy products from happier animals. I did the research to determine that Miniature Jersey cattle were the best choice for us. Being beginners, we also knew we needed a well-trained, gentle cow. Of course, the owner of the perfect, well-trained gentle cow also owned the perfect, well-trained gentle half-sister to whom she was deeply bonded. Yes, we are suckers, though we have come to appreciate the comfort that these two cows provide for each other. The ETA for the first calf was July 9, according to two different veterinarians, with Number Two expected to arrive the following month. The second vet just laughed at us, saying something about age and energy level and “all that milk.” Yeah, we know.

So we are waiting…and waiting. We have decided that the girls are just messing with us. They know that the extent of our calving knowledge consists of knowing to look for two small hoof tips pointed opposite the planet Uranus and what we can glean from the proliferation of Internet lists devoted to miniature cow husbandry (we are grateful for these). We are certain the girls have decided to postpone this whole thing, possibly indefinitely. We have learned that paranoia and uncertainty are part of owning cows.