Monday, January 12, 2009

The more things change, the mooo they stay the same.

We didn't need another cow. I knew that because Tom, Bessie and Rosebud had all agreed upon a congenial routine of daily greetings, meals, milking and tuckings in at night. The calves have settled happily into their new homes. Life was good. Everyone was happy.

Tom has one thing in common with his cows. He is happiest having a peaceful, predictable daily routine. The difference between them is that the cows have one, while Tom does not. Tom is married to me, and I am less content with this kind of serene existence than one with challenges, change and variety. This is a character flaw that even I get irritated with. But my most patient of husbands often ends up dealing with the interesting consequences of my varied interests. For example, this past year, he has mastered being a dairyman to two cows, though in all fairness, he was a willing partner in this recent exercise in self-sufficiency. But while our two cows had an orderly and routine year, Tom had to acquire a whole new career (though I think this makes about six).

About a month ago, I ran across a sales ad for a Miniature Jersey cow. I see these all the time, being a member of a number of internet lists pertaining to these small cows. But this one just "spoke" to me. Maybe it was the little white socks on her back feet, her small size or her unusual black color (she is part Dexter). But the upshot is that we decided that she would make an excellent, anniversary-Christmas-New Year's-Jorg's Birthday present, and Priscilla came to live with us.

Priscilla was not happy with this arrangement, being the only one not consulted about it. And she compensated for her small size with a large attitude. Her first week was spent doing an impressive Spanish bull impression every time you approached her paddock. But she has gradually come to realize that people here mean food and head scratches and a warm stall on cold nights. Bessie took her small size to mean that she was a calf, and our accomplished nurse cow immediately "adopted" her. Rosebud is frosty.

Priscilla is due to calve or "freshen" in April or early May. When she does, we will learn something new: how to deal with calves born with horns, as this calf will likely have them. In the meantime, we have all setttled in to the new farm routine. Until it changes. Spring is only two months away and it's hard to tell what the new year will bring. We still need to "introduce" Bessie and Rosebud to their mail-order husband. And try some new heirloom vegetables, and raise some new garden beds...we need new fruit trees....

Photo (L-R): Priscilla, Bessie and Rosebud