Fifi + ??? [name our baby!]

I knew Fiona was going to calve on Wednesday morning. Rather, on Wednesday morning, I knew Fiona was going to calve that day. Not because I’m psychic but because she was showing all the signs – wandering off by herself, licking her sides. I brushed her whole body for a very long time, to relax her. Throughout the day, I’d go outside, walk around till I found where she was hiding, see if anything was happening, and then force myself to go back inside to work, even though I wanted to sit outside and watch her. The early stages can take hours.

When I checked on her at 2PM, she was swishing her tail in a particular way that is hard to describe but is part of cow labor. I decided to check on her more often. When I checked on her at 2:30, using binoculars from the deck, I saw she had hooves sticking out of her. I went down to the little valley meadow where she was and checked the direction of the hooves – if the front of the hoof is facing up, all is well. If the bottom part of the hoof is facing up, the calf is turned or breech. Thankfully, all was well. I didn’t want to disturb Fiona, so I sat down at the edge of the valley clearing. Even with emerging hooves, the actual delivery can still be a while off – cows might walk around with hooves sticking out of them for an hour. As soon as I sat down, Fiona came over and lay down right next to me. Like, right next to me – when she stretched out, her back hoof rested against my foot. She lay still for a moment, then sighed, then pushed, and delivered her baby.

You know a cow trusts you when she’ll have her baby right in your lap.

I’ve talked before about the “mama moo.” I had my phone with me and got video of this – the calf wobbling her way up to standing, Fiona hovering and licking and mama-mooing.

A video posted by Shreve Stockton (@dailycoyote) on

If the embed doesn’t work for you, the video is here.

Once the calf got her footing, she was prancing in circles around Fiona, with Fiona turning in tight circles herself trying to follow her to continue licking her off. The calf found Fifi’s udder, had her first meal, and was bouncing and bucking before she was an hour old! This calf is so freakin’ cute. Her face is fuzzier than any calf I’ve ever seen. She is solid black with a small white patch in the center of her belly. And we need a name! Please leave your name suggestions in the comments – I can only call this baby “Baby” for so long before Baby gets his feelings hurt.

It’s Almost Time….


….for babies!

{{Daisy and Fiona, 2011}}

And then I was home.

I drove just shy of 700 miles this weekend. A family visit corresponded perfectly with a follow up with my voice doc. Both out of state, one big loop. Both great. I drove home yesterday.

As I got closer to the Wyoming state line, the wind mellowed. Traffic dispersed. And then I was in Wyoming. The landscape seemed to take a deep breath, relax, and just spread out. Houses and power lines vanished from sight. I passed magpies and an eagle feasting on roadkill. I passed a truck and horse trailer parked out in the sagebrush, two cowboys on horseback riding away into the vastness.

As I got closer to home, the earth changed from silver and tan to red. When I stopped on the road to open the gate to my driveway, I could feel the silence. Six mule deer picked their way across the pasture. A whinny from Kota broke through the quiet, and I looked up and saw a dozen faces watching me from the point of the hill above – Daisy and Maia and Li’l Six and Ranger and the rest.

And then I was home.


There’s half a moon already. I was surprised, last night, when I went outside at 10pm and it was bright enough to see easily, bright enough for hard-edged shadows. The moonlight bounced off Chloe’s white fur, making her glow. Charlie’s coat, which can magically camouflage itself in all seasons and environments – dry grass, snow, sagebrush, red dirt – blended with the night. His shadowy form sparkled as the white tips of his guard hairs caught the light.

Half a moon makes it easy to be outside in the dark – it’s light enough to walk around, no need for flashlights – yet still easy to sleep. Full moons disrupt – moonlight bounces off every stone, off each specular surface of our trucks, it magnifies, then seeps around the edges of curtains and slides across bedroom walls. My favorite moon is a sliver, a delicate crescent. I call it the Frisco moon and it makes me feel connected to him again, when I see it. His horns were that shape.

Chloe Makes Me Smile






Unrelated: This Quinoa Chickpea Curry is my latest favorite. So easy and SO GOOD.

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