Friday, March 20, 2015


Ahh what a wonderful feeling to take a shower after a long day of feeding and fetching, phone calling and frazzling thought processes.

Just as I had begun to unwind, the phone rang.
I bet it's my Mom returning my call, I'll call her back in a bit.

Then it rang again. Before I could get the shampoo rinsed out I heard my husbands phone ring in the other room.

There was trouble in the calving barn.

Looks like no time for conditioner tonight.

In 15 minutes I was standing in the calving barn with a wet head and my dirty clothes waiting on the vet to arrive.

Earlier that evening a cow had had a cute little white calf, but oddly didn't have much interest in taking care of it. This occasionally happens with a first time mama, but this girl was seasoned and had always done good before. Happen to think of it she took great care of her twins last year.

It wasn't long before another little set of feet began to show and we forgave big mama for being distracted from calf number 1.

There was a little problem though. The tiny feet that had emerged were upside down and upon further examination it was found that the second calf had become lodged in the cows pelvis.

We waited for the vet, who administered an epidural and was able to deliver the calf.

Sadly baby heifer number 2 had died before we were able to deliver her.

While we worked to ensure mama had everything she needed to be on her way to recovery, she only wanted to give attention to little baby number 1 who was now sleeping in the corner.

In the days following mama wasn't doing very well and we tried everything we could to help her get better.

Baby had settled in well at the calf barn and was healthy and happy.

Sadly 4 days after calving mama couldn't go on any longer.
She died at at the VT Vet Hospital receiving all the care she could be given.
She had developed an infection from a trauma to her uterus during the delivery.

Today baby moved into the big pen with the other calves, ready to start her adventures here at Hillside Farm.

As I watched this new little life take on the world with ease, I found myself remembering with sadness the other two lives that had not been able to do so.

But...I also found myself very thankful that it was not a total loss.

I find season changes to mean something very different since I have been a farmer.
Much more defining of where life has been, where it is going.

With the beginning of spring today, I couldn't help but think of the winter.
What a long winter it has seemed to be.
How much more glorious the coming of spring seems to be with every passing year.

Since I have been away I must say I put on a few more miles

Consumed an immeasurable amount of coffee

Saw the world from a new perspective

And overcame some fears

 Of course there was plenty of time in the big red barn

But after standing there with a wet head in the calving barn at midnight, after seeing the littlest calf face life with such resilience, I thought maybe I should look for a little something to smile about after this long winter.

And it turns out, if I looked very closely there were plenty of things to help me know that  looking for hope this spring won't let me down.

Neither will being thankful for what I learned in the cold of winter, 
or in the calving barn at midnight.


So tomorrow I will get up, feed my faithful dog, two cats and six baby chicks.
I will watch after a barn full of calves and a couple hundred cows with my hardworking husband.
And I will thank God for every Spring he sends.

I hope the sunshine heads towards you all very soon!

Here's a video clip of little baby playing this morning, she's the one in the blue jacket.