New life was added to the Homestead; Princess Luna one of my milk cows had her calf. I had been watching her as she got closer to her due date, there are so many signs if you are really paying attention. Luna is the biggest, tallest cow I have right now so she didn’t “look” as pregnant as some of the girls do when they are due. However, the day that the baby dropped in her belly, or moved into better placement (around here the kids call it “the launch position”) my son thought for sure she’d had the calf. She suddenly looked thinner and lighter. However, the day she actually had the calf I’d been watching her all morning. She was calm, and grazed with everyone, but slower. Then she went off by herself, and the rest of the herd let her, even the calves stayed away so that she could focus on the task at hand. I knew once she was by herself it was game time. I have full faith that each of my cows is able to deliver their calves by themselves, and only when things don’t go smoothly will I step in. However, given space and a safe environment they rarely need help.
I didn’t say anything to the kids, for the excitement leaves jazzy energy in the air, so I just watched from the porch. Luna was working in the sedan patch we’d planted this spring, she was moving a lot, walking around and then laying down. She was staying calm, it’s her second calf and she acted like she was an old pro. I had folks coming to pick up their farm shares and milk so there was extra busyness going on but we were still able keep the farm quite for her. Finally she started moving a lot, up and down and walking in circles, the other cows kept their distance but as I watched them, they were watching Luna. Up and down, walking and finally as I was talking with a customer I watched her get up one last time and when she did… she pushed it out! At that very moment the rest of the herd got up and went to her. The Welcoming Committee, the Midwives. They check on the new addition, smelling and looking at it, and they checked on Luna, smelling and checking her out as well. It’s really quite amazing to watch.
Within the hour Luna had the baby clean, standing and nursing! After the excitement and welcoming to the herd the rest of the cows let them be. Grazing close by but not bothering them. “Anne with an E”, Ellie Bishop’s calf born in May was fascinated by this little creature, she did not leave. She stayed very close all day, I think possibly until she was almost a pain to Luna, as Luna wanted to make sure her little one was safe and not bothered. However, even now when I look out into the pasture to check on the cows, Anne with an E and the new calf are always very close together, usually sleeping.
I went out later that morning to check on Luna and her calf, to see what she’d had and be sure she looked ok after delivery. A healthy bull (boy) calf! I told Dan and for once he and I got to pick the name. The kids have been listening to the Little House series while they do their daily chores so of course we decided to name the little one Almonzo.
The whole time Luna was in labor and the weeks leading up I couldn’t help but reflect on what I was doing a year ago, waiting for our youngest to arrive. He was late, well late in our impatient standards, he came when the time was right and he was in the correct “launching position”. Gestation for both humans and cows are within 10 days of each other, and the reproductive system for the cow and woman are same. I had my first three children in the normal hospital setting, and with my little one last year, I decided to have him at home. Wow. Honestly that is one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. So as Luna was going through the motions the other day, I couldn’t help but reflect as our little human will be turning one in the next few days.
Life out here is always following a cycle, nothing lasts forever, the good or the bad. It was nice to have a bit of steady rain… and a new calf.
Speaking of new calf, I need to go milk, chores take longer adding another cow to the line up, and if I’m not quick the calf will take it all!