Friday, April 10, 2015

Moon Pie

We ended the month of March with a short trip to Fredericksburg on Monday the 30th to visit our RV friends, Rick and Linda, who were spending several days there before heading north to see family.

Along the road, bluebonnets and other spring flowers were just beginning to show themselves.  It was almost as if the earth was holding its breath waiting for the trees to leaf out and the flowers to bloom.  

Rick and Linda joined us for a walking tour around town, including lunch at the local brew pub.  The beer and brats were great, and we also approved of the restaurant’s not-too-subtle political statement.

Following visits to several shops and a couple of wineries, we headed back to Austin.

On Thursday, we drove back to the farm to check on B1, hoping to find her with a new calf.
No such luck.  She was still “expecting," and getting bigger by the minute, it seemed.

Rick and Linda had by this time departed on the first leg of their trip back to Minnesota.  Since they were traveling by way of Highway 281 (which passes right through Hamilton), we invited them to come out for a visit to the farm.  We had fun showing them around, then John cooked a great BBQ dinner that we enjoyed before Rick and Linda headed back to their RV in Hamilton.

Terry and Pattie, long-time friends from Georgetown, also joined us on Thursday, and will spend several days at the farm.  They were accompanied by their two dogs, Buck and Zizzy, shown here along with our dogs, Cousin Molly and Cousin Clover.  

We all participated in “maternity watch” while we waited impatiently for B1 to calve.  Shortly after noon on Friday, she left the other cows and moved to the far corner of the coastal Bermuda field.  We knew that her delivery was approaching, so we began checking on her more frequently. 

By mid-afternoon Rue and I had stationed ourselves at the edge of the field to wait.  I wanted to be nearby when she went into hard labor in case she needed help.  (No, I did not intend to play midwife unless there was no other option!  If B1’s labor had seemed to be taking too long, we would have called the vet.)  She wandered around the far reaches of the field and woods, looking for an appropriate spot, I suppose.  Each time she would lie down, I got excited and thought her time was near.  And each time, she got up and continued moving around the pasture.  (I guess the spot she had chosen wasn’t comfortable.)  

At one point, she mooed loudly several times as if calling to the other cattle.  In quick response, Dude, our Hereford bull, came running along the fence in the adjacent pasture, bawling loudly (to tell her help was on the way, I guess).  He then settled down near her to wait…and didn’t move until after she delivered her calf.  Her sister, B8, also came down and stood nearby in response to her calls.

I made a couple of trips back to the house to report on B1’s progress, and John, Terry and Pattie came down to check on her as well.  Rue was a real trooper all afternoon, holding her “stay” by the gator without moving while I followed the cow around the pasture.  

Finally as sunset neared, John, Terry and Pattie arrived for one last cow check.  As if on cue, B1 settled herself in the grass one last time, “pushed” several times, and in less than 5 minutes out popped a healthy black baldy calf, christened Moon Pie by Terry.

We watched from 50 or so yards away as a trimmer, slimmer B1 cleaned up her baby, mooing gently to him as she did so.  As he was preparing to take his first wobbly steps, we retired to the house for a celebratory chilled beverage and a fantastic pasta and seafood dinner that Pattie had prepared.

By early Saturday morning, as John and I left for Austin, we saw that B1 and “Moon Pie” had rejoined the herd.

We expect B8 to produce our next calf, and hope she does as well as her sister.

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