Farms are full of life lessons.
Saturday morning, Curt jumped out of bed and ran to the pasture to check on Miss Mia. She’d been showing signs of labor for a week, though not due until April, and the first calf of the season is always so exciting. She had not calved by midnight, so we knew there would be a baby by morning.
He came back inside slowly with his head down and said, “She didn’t make it.” The calf, a little girl, had come too early. The loss came as a shock to both of us. We’ve never lost a cow before, and longhorns are known for their ease in breeding and birth. More importantly, we were worried for Miss Mia- a first time mamma. Mia had done everything she was supposed to- stayed with the baby, cleaned up the area, mooed to keep the others away… but the calf was just too little.
Curt moved the little one out to the back pasture as Miss Mia bellowed. She was mad and protective, confused and tired. I realized I was watching a purely simple version of every woman’s intuition. Whether you have children or not, there is a certain grace we are all bestowed when it comes to caring for others. I understood her, and that created a connection to our farm I never expected. I hope that makes me a better farmer. It will not be our last loss, certainly. I pray we never get used to it and appreciate the wonder of living out here.
All the young punks in the bullpen next door came over to offer their gruff condolences. It was very sweet. Miss Mia is just fine. She is completely healthy and will calve again next year. We’ll be sure to watch her closely for signs of early labor again so we can be out there, just in case. It’s all you can do: learn and then learn some more.
Nancy, we liked your name (Miss Barbie’s Texas Moonlight Special) so much that we’ve decided to use a part of it on all of our registrations. Each cow we breed and register with the Texas Longhorn Breeder’s Association will have the prefix of TXN (TexasNorth), then the name, and then ‘Special’ as the suffix. Registrations are kept for the lifetime of the animal, regardless of sale. If we breed a beautiful little heifer and she moves to Alabama later in her life, her name will always be a clue to where she came from. Thanks for the inspiration! I have a t-shirt for you as well, if you’d like.
You’re probably wondering about sweet Rylie. Curt did take her out to see the little calf. I have no idea what he said or if she truly understood, but she told me later, “Baby Moo…No, Mom. No moo. Me? Drink?” You bet, Kiddo. Let me get you a drink. And she never said another word about it. Rylie with animals… it’s truly something to watch. There’s a secret world there.
We can learn a lot from our kids.
What’s the last thing you learned from a child?