Hey Jupiter

☆ July 1, 2014


A new baby has joined the Farmily. Maia, Daisy’s adopted calf from 2012, had her first calf a few weeks ago. I’ve often said that cows are the best mothers, but sometimes they aren’t. And Maia has been the absolute worst. She had an easy birth on a sunny afternoon, but immediately after was like, “OK, I’m done, gonna hang with my friends now,” and walked off, completely ignoring her calf. When he followed her and tried to nurse, she kicked and headbutted him. Not OK, Maia!

With Daisy’s help, I walked Maia to the corral while Mike brought the calf down on his 4-wheeler. (Maia did not want to leave her gang but she was willing to follow Daisy, and Daisy is always happy to follow me because she knows she gets special treats when she does.) At the corral, we put Maia in the squeeze chute – which gently confines a cow – and allowed her calf to safely nurse, which he did with gusto as Maia glared into the middle distance. When we let her out of the chute, she turned on her calf again. It was obviously too dangerous to leave them together for the night, as a cow can kill a calf if she is aggressive and determined to keep it from nursing.

By that time, the sun was setting and the weather was turning and I couldn’t bear the thought of leaving a newborn alone in a storm, even in the shelter of the barn. So I took him home with me, made a nest of blankets in the bathroom, set my laptop on the toilet seat, and mainlined Orange Is The New Black while the calf slept curled beside me with his chin resting on my thigh.

The next morning, Jupiter bounced around the yard and played with Pita while I had tea; then we took him down to the corral to repeat the squeeze chute maneuver for breakfast. We kept the two of them close but separated during the day – together in the corral but with a wood fence between them, so they could smell each other and communicate, but Maia couldn’t harm him. When we put them together in the evening to see if Maia had decided to love him, Maia went right back into attack mode. Back in the squeeze chute she went, so the baby could dine. And back to my house he went, because another evening storm blew in.

Day three was a repeat of day two, with no change in Maia’s attitude. We’ve had other cows start out as reluctant mothers, but usually two days with the squeeze chute is all they need to get accustomed to nursing and fall in love with their calves. Maia’s behavior was kind of baffling (there was no physical reason for it), and getting very high maintenance, and not fair for the baby. So, on the fourth morning, we hobbled her. Hobbles are like prison leg shackles made of leather that go on a cow’s hind legs. Maia could still walk and lie down, but she couldn’t run or kick.

Maia was furious, but Jupiter was safe to stay close to Maia to bond and nurse when he wanted to, and I tried to soothe Maia with pans of Daisy’s special treats and long brushing sessions. After five days – because she was still antagonistic towards Jupiter for four solid days – we took the hobbles off and sat back to see what would happen. Free from the hobbles, Maia allowed Jupiter to nurse IF AND ONLY IF she was also eating. Begrudgingly, and not without agitation, but she no longer assaulted him. If she wasn’t eating, however, Jupiter couldn’t either – she’d kick him away, though not nearly as viciously as she had been.

And finally, FINALLY, at the end of last week, I spied Jupiter nursing while Maia stood calmly, without any food in her mouth. We might have a love match, after all.

Week In Phone Pics

☆ June 27, 2014

the office

seeing stripes

random helicopter

seeing every angle

headin’ home

….next week’s story


☆ June 22, 2014

Jazz for Cows.
I’m totally buying their CD to play for Daisy as I’m milking.

Last Call & Random Ramblings

☆ June 19, 2014

Star Brand Beef

It’s getting down to the final week to order Star Brand Beef for delivery to the West….  Mini Quarters for the West will be available to order for a bit longer, and Eastern orders will be open for another couple of weeks.  Easterners, the West is running circles around you!  As it stands now, delivering East does not pencil out (twice the trucking costs than to California with far less orders). At the risk of sounding like Hulu Plus, I’m offering 5% off your initial deposit if you refer a friend or co-worker, and 5% off their deposit as well. While supplies last [spoken in voiceover voice].  I will happily head East again if the interest proves to be there!  Referring discount applies to those West, as well, and to those who have already placed their order – all is fair in love and beef.

Unrelated: this has been a really, really hard year for me.  I’ve been feeling a lot of overwhelm, self pity, and straight up depression.  These three things are so far from my usual state of being it’s almost exciting, if it didn’t suck so much.  The general advice I’m getting is “do yoga, brush Daisy, find joy in the little things,” and it’s decent advice, and these things are nice, but….. there’s an emptiness that these things do nothing to fill.  I’ve found that service to others is the only thing that fills this emptiness, that helping others is what helps me.  I’m donating a whole beef to Glide in San Francisco – they serve more meals to those in need in one day than the entire population of my town – and will be donating beef annually from now on.  And when I go out, I smile at every stranger (including, yesterday, a scowling state trooper who waved back at me!). I’m finding the best way out of depression is not to take care of yourself, but to take care of others, and that even the tiniest gestures have a really big impact.

Daisy, dreaming

☆ June 16, 2014


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