This is not the post I had planned. I think you could tell by my last Polly post that I was super excited she was going to have her first calf. I was planning on sharing the sex of the calf, telling you how much it weighed and what I was most excited about having us all pick out a name together. It has taken me over a week to sit down and write this post.
I know that I may not have met you all but there is a sense of trust in the blogging community that I love. I very easily could have not posted this or even made up a story that wasn’t true. But, I couldn’t do that. I knew I would have to post this at some time and after spending time lovin’ on my Sweet P this evening I decided the time was right.
If there is one thing you learn quickly on a farm it is that life doesn’t always go as you plan. This morning started early because the cows were out, equipment breaks, you get called home from dinner with friends because the roof of the barn has blown off in the storm. You crawl out of bed and round up the cows, you work until the equipment is fixed and you ask your friends for forgiveness as you slip out of the restaurant with your to-go food, spending the rest of your date night in the rain picking pieces of metal up and making sure all cows have shelter for the night.
This is where I start to get teary eyed. We knew P was getting close to calving and so we watched her very closely. In fact, after we left the farm just before 2 a.m. although he didn’t admit it I am pretty sure my hubby went back to the farm and slept in his truck so he could check on her. She was getting closer but it wasn’t progressing very fast. We figured it was because we were watching her to much and she just needed her time.
Still nothing. I’m not a very patient person so although this lasted only a couple of days it seemed like weeks. We had a couple of the guys who work in the maternity barn check her and they agreed she just needed her time. Another night passed and I had the early morning slot. I jumped out of bed and headed towards the farm to see P pushing. Finally, I thought. Until I noticed something was wrong. Instantly I knew, the calf was backwards. I called my hunny and went home to get cleaned up for work.
There isn’t a good ending to this story. The calf didn’t make it. Everyone felt helpless. Our employees worried we were upset with them. We weren’t.
Polly is doing okay. She is adjusting to being a “milk-cow.” Our guys are starting to figure out her personality. They even refer to her with my pet names, Sweet P and P. The stories are kind of funny! They want to be able to walk right up to her and pet her and she won’t have it but yet she comes to me and gives me hugs. Not that i’m rubbing it in! 🙂 Tonight one of the guys said, “You can’t tell who her mommy is at all.” That made me laugh. All of our cows have personalities, some like attention, some like to be left alone. That is what makes this life we live so awesome, ups and downs.
I saw this video on Facebook today and it reminded me of where and who we came from, why we do what we do and where and who we hope to be.
Paul Harvey: God Made A Farmer Video
So sorry for the loss of the calf. It is such a helpless feeling. Hopefully her next time will end in a happier story. I think dairy cows are in a whole different evolutionary spot that our feeders. I have a blog coming next week about a “dear heifer” that spit on my and just about took off Tall Guy’s hand while we were de-worming and giving out meds. Grrrrr! 😉
I know my husband takes it personally each time a calf doesn’t make it, for whatever the reason may be. I believe it’s part of why we do what we do, and although it hurts for a bit, we strive to do better the next time.
To me, that’s part of the beauty of being involved in agriculture…and I hope it never changes.
Michelle (A Flour Grows) says
I am so sorry to hear that:`o(
I am so sorry for your loss. We have been ranchers for the last two years and have learned more in 2 years than I have in my entire life. I have learned that I have to let go of things, they are not in my hands. It still hurts though.
Colleen Cecil says
I have been there like you and it never gets any easier. Thanks for sharing.
I know that P means a lot to you and it means a lot to us that you shared her story with us.
The video was beautiful!
I’m so sorry for your loss. I know it must be hard for you.
I think it’s beautiful how she takes to you like she does.
Thank you for sharing your story.
Thanks for taking the time to write this all out. I’m teary reading it and it’s the reality of farm life that no one wants to have to deal with. You take tremendous care of your cows. Hang in there.
Awww Liz I am so sorry – big hugs – this is one of my worst fears that the kids will have to experience with their cows. We are always honest with the kids and ourselves about what could happen and that that is part of life and life on a farm but quite honestly it still tears a person up when it happens. You, Polly and Russell are definatly in my prayers.
DeeDee Sigler, SIG...nature Notes says
Thanks for sharing. God bless Polly and your family.
Four Ransom's says
So sorry…It is definitely a hard day on the farm when something like this happens. We had a first calf heifer lose a bull calf a few months back due to the same exact thing…it is a hard thing to witness…And I love to read about people being so passionate about their cattle!
Marli and Memory says
I’m so sorry about the calf. Although I’ve never experienced something like that, it must be really hard! Hugs and smiles sent your way! 🙂
Dawson Cattle Company says
i’m sorry about the loss of the babe! i know all too well your pain. i always play the tough farmwife, till im alone…then i let it rip. from the mouth of our 8yr old. momma, it’s sad but it’s part of living on a farm. she will have a better babe next year.
Ott, A. says
I’m sorry to hear about Polly’s calf. I can think of numerous ewes we’ve had over the years with the same problems. those little moments remind you how precious life is. I agree with you on some animals having more personality. There’s usually one ewe that is always first to the gate, or wants to be petted they definitely can become pets.
The Durrer Family says
The farming life can definately swing your emotions from the highest point ever, to the lowest point in just the turn of a switch. It’s being able to push through these difficult times and face the next challenge that makes us great at what we do. Losing “a part of your family” is never fun. So glad that P is doing well. Our best to you.
Sending a big hug your way…
The gal we get our raw milk from told me just yesterday that they lost a newborn calf over the weekend. Good news: we keep getting milk. Bad news: sad loss of life on their farm. So sorry for you both.
Galloway Mom says
I am praying that your sadness will get easier with time. We lost a calf last year and my 9 year daughter cried for days. It was so hard to help her through it, when I was having such a difficult time as well. So we cried together! Mallory was worried about the momma missing her baby and how sad she must have been feeling. It is so hard to suffer such a loss.
I know that through it all, the joyous occasions and even sad ones, that my kids are learning life lessons that will make help them grow into compassionate people. Farming is a way of life and I wouldn’t have it any other way. And darn it, that doesn’t make the loss any easier to take. Hugs to you!