Eight weeks ago yesterday, on one of the coldest days of a Hoosier winter, Little Red Rose was born. Her momma didn’t want her, but we did. Our ignorance and inexperience were only matched by our willingness and determination. With patience, good doctoring and lots of love, she pulled through more than one rough spot. Now, she thrives.
I don’t think she knows it yet, but she and her roommate, Buddy, drank their last bottles this morning. I’m sure our neighbors will hear them bawling about it tomorrow morning.
We have learned so much in the past couple of months. We have learned what a lot of people already know–what farmers all over the country are already doing day in and day out to grow healthy beef. I now know that, no matter how cold it is, people do get out of bed in the middle of the night to keep brand-new calves from freezing to death in the care of inexperienced mommas. I learned that getting a new baby to nurse within her first few hours is critical to her survival. I now know what scours looks (and smells) like and what healthy calf poo should resemble. I learned that certain breeds of cows make better mommas than other breeds, and that I have no desire to keep an ugly-tempered cow around here–no matter how good she may one day taste from the smoker. I know that a person’s schedule can, indeed, revolve around bottle-feeding calves and that there is some measure of reward in watching them grow into sturdy, frisking animals. I also learned that I really, really like calves.
They entertain me with their curious personalities and their crazy antics. I’m not saying that my life has been made easier by their presence, but it has certainly been made more interesting.
We are grateful for what we have learned from our successes and failures in this endeavor. We are also grateful for being one step closer to homegrown burgers for our grill.
We must keep things in perspective.
Until then, we will continue caring for this little one and her friends, thanking God for His provision and for His sense of humor.