HONEY ROCK DAWN

Babysitting Calves at Naptime

Can you even stand the cuteness? Babysitting is really common with bovines – one mother or Grandmother will hang out with up to a dozen calves while their mothers go off to graze or get manicures. This is Leila babysitting five calves at naptime – they found a very comfy spot on a pile of fresh straw. I really wanted to join them.

The following is a bit of a technical note, but maybe not completely boring? Starting tomorrow, on the anniversary of the day Charlie came into my life, my @dailycoyote Instagram account will become an extension of The Daily Coyote blog: photos of Charlie, posted daily, beginning at the beginning with his baby pics from April 2007.

I’ve been pondering this change for several weeks and reached conviction after the incredible flood of emails and messages I received around Charlie’s birthday earlier this month. Your notes affected me deeply – thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and love. Charlie has impacted so many people in such magnificent ways, and I think bringing Charlie’s photo archive to Instagram is the best way to keep sharing the wonder he inspires.

I’ll still be updating Charlie’s blog as I always have, and sending out new pictures to subscribers via email as I have always done and absolutely love doing – none of that is changing. But things have changed drastically, here on The Internet, since I started blogging in 2007. I’ve noticed so much more engagement on Instagram than on my blogs in recent years, and *I* engage more with others on Instagram, too, rather than going to dozens of blogs the way I used to in the ’00s. This shift makes sense – on Instagram, everyone is in one place and it’s so convenient. It’s the Walmart of the internet. And since things have changed in this way, the @dailycoyote Instagram account will be a way for newbies, who might never find Charlie’s blog otherwise, to learn about his magic. Today’s 20-year-olds were 8 when Charlie was born!

Pictures of the rest of the Farmily will now be @farmily.love so if you’re on Instagram, go follow that account for pictures of Daisy, Chloe, Sage, the horses, and the rest of the Farmily. With the book deadline and so much else going on, posting little snapshots over there may occur more regularly than big blog posts here. Even if you’re not on Instagram, you can bookmark this page and this page to see everything I post.

MOAR BABIEZ!!

DaisyRoxy

Daisy had a baby! So… this happened really all of a sudden, or as “all of a sudden” as something that takes nine months can happen.

Backing up: Daisy’s last calf was Leila, in 2014. Daisy is always a bit challenging to breed back, but in early 2015, when it would have been time to start trying to get Daisy pregnant again, I was in the midst of dealing with my health baloney and I didn’t want her to be pregnant. I had stopped milking her because I didn’t have the energy (Leila was big enough at that point to take care of Daisy’s milk output on her own) and I couldn’t deal with the responsibility of Daisy calving again until I got my health back on track and reached a more functional state of being.

Last summer, we brought our bull Billy in to breed the cows and heifers that spent the summer here at home. (The majority of cows and bulls spend the summer on the mountain.) Billy is daddy to all the calves I’ve shared here this spring – Ixchel, Sid, and the rest – and he also got Leila pregnant for her first time. It was possible that he had bred Daisy, too, but I wasn’t terribly confident that it happened. It usually takes Daisy several cycles to finally get pregnant, and after about three months of having Billy in with the cows, we had to move him out again. One of the neighbor’s cows showed up and climbed through our fence and Billy bred her (I watched it happen) and we moved him out that very day. Because cows can have STDs.

There’s a bovine STD called trichomoniasis (“trich” for short) which causes cows to spontaneously abort, and it was not worth the risk to keep Billy in with our cows until we had him tested again. Since it takes a couple of months of dormancy for trich to show up on tests, Billy was out of work for the season. Mike was convinced Daisy had been bred, but I was skeptical… until earlier this spring, when it became apparent she was making milk! I was overjoyed. And I guess I didn’t fully believe that she was actually, truly pregnant until quite close to the end of the term, because I was going to post about Daisy being pregnant, but she had her baby before I even could.

A week or so ago, I started obsessively checking on Daisy and Leila for signs of labor. With angus cows, it’s pretty easy to tell when the time is near just by looking at their udder, but Daisy’s udder keeps getting bigger and bigger and bigger and it’s not a great indicator. This happened to be the case with Leila, too – she has Daisy’s genetics in that department, more so than Fiona, and her udder also kept getting bigger and bigger. Fast forward to Friday night: the sun was setting and all the cows were eating near the house and Mike and I went outside and, at exactly the same time, we turned to each other and said “Where’s Daisy?!!”

I found her off by herself in a draw. This is what cows do when they are close to having their babies. I lured her all the up to the house with treats and put her in the yard for the night, so it would be easy to check on her – Daisy’s last two calves had been breach and I was not going to rest until I knew all was well. I checked on her hourly till midnight, then at 2am, then at 4am. Nothing was really going on through the night, but at 4am, I got the sense that I shouldn’t wait another two hours to check on her again. So I checked on her at 5am, and she had hooves sticking out – and they were the correct direction! And I rejoiced, because the calf was not breach. And not five minutes later, Daisy lay down and had her baby in the light of dawn.

And two hours later, within sight of the yard but off on her own, Leila had her baby, too! Perfectly and easily.

I named Leila’s baby Pixie because she is so little and cute. And I named Daisy’s baby Roxy, which is a variant of the English variant of the French variant of the Latin variant of the Persian word for dawn. And Sid might get his own happy cow family after all…. but that’s a story for another post.

Leila Licking

Little known cow fact: Cows (and bulls and calves and steers) lick the air when they are being scratched in a way they love, like a dog kicking the air with its leg. I filmed Leila while I was scratching her back. Caution: my video skills continue to hover in the D- range and my animal voice is ridic – save your eardrums and set your volume low!

Leila Licking from daily coyote on Vimeo.

Wild Thing

missthing

I am convinced that Leila is a barrel horse trapped in the body of a cow. She loves to run and race and turn tight corners at high speeds. And she loves to kiss. It’s still very difficult to get photos of her – she’s either running at top speed or in my lap.

leilanjupiter

She and Jupiter have become fast friends. Most black Angus (Jupiter’s breed) have pure black ears, but Maia has red-gold edges on her ears – Jupiter inherited them, and they match Leila’s.

jupeandleila

Leila’s coat is strange and amazing. She is still every color: black (stripes down her back and belly, and around her eyes, mouth, ears, and hooves), gray and silver (the insides of her legs), brown and red (her head and sides), and pale blond (her neck and chest). Wild.

lfull

It’s been a very strange year here, a strange year for me. So many contradictions that actually aren’t; everything in everything. I doubt my words make sense – I’m still making sense of it all – but Leila is an embodiment of chaos that is actually pure love, and all the things that appear to be impossible contradictions that are actually perfect puzzle pieces working together.

leilalightanddarkL

Leila Francesca

leila francesca

It has been really hard to get proper pictures of Leila! Part of this is the weather – photography takes the back seat when it is 107°F at 10am and there are a day’s worth of chores (and milking!) to cram into the few cool hours at dawn and dusk.

And part of this is Leila – she is far too excited about being in a body to keep that body still for a photograph! She shows off with a few rounds of little bucks, all four feet leaving the ground at once, then races up to nuzzle my face and neck – she is like a little puppy! Our new favorite trick is for me to sit on the ground and scritch her chest between her front legs; she will then reach over my shoulder and scritch my back with her baby teeth.

When I step away, hoping to fit her into the camera frame, she dashes over.
Most of my photos look like this:

LFrunning

Daisy is so in love.
Thank you for the suggestion of a middle name.
I’m off to milk!

keep looking »
  • More, Elsewhere

    • tdcbuttonb
    • newshopbutton16s
    • IGflicka
  • Buy Daisy A Bale of Hay

    ♥ ♥ treat Daisy to a meal ♥ ♥
  • Tweets

  • Follow Honey Rock Dawn

    Enter your email address to receive new posts via email.

  • My Books

    • tdccoverbutton
    • ten
    • egfcoverbutton
  • On My Bookshelf

  • Archives

  • Categories

  • RSS