I had hoped to buy a bobby calf for Bonnie to raise alongside her own; unfortunately, the people on Craigslist who were supposed to supply me with a calf never came through. If I were to get one now, it would be so much younger than Clyde that it probably wouldn't get enough milk, so I've scratched that idea for this year. When Cliff retires, we'll be able to go to the Tuesday livestock auction at Kingsville once in a while; I'm wary of sale barn calves because they usually get sick as soon as you get them home, but desperate times call for desperate measures. I'd also have a very good chance of picking up another Jersey cow; they're usually very cheap at an auction, and they're pregnancy tested.
Readers have asked some questions about Iris. One person wondered if she is getting along with Hawkeye (my daughter's dog) now, and I'm happy to say that, for the most part, she is getting along much better with all dogs. She no longer stalks Rena's tiny mini-doxie. Last time Pat and Charlene were here with their dog, Mindy, we all went someplace, leaving our two dogs in the house alone together for a few hours. We returned to find them both safe and sound.
The main trouble spot with Iris is when you are feeding another dog out of hand: that triggers an attack. She doesn't mind dogs eating from her dish at all, but if anybody hands another dog a treat in her presence, she goes into attack mode; she's given us a couple of scares with our granddaughter's mini-pin. We're working on that.
Iris came from the city, so you can imagine how she loves the wide-open spaces. After we'd had her awhile I began letting her off the leash when we'd take our walks; she'd run like the wind and disappear into the woods, only to show up at the house dirty and bedraggled, two hours after we were done walking. While there aren't any cars back there to run over her, I still worried that she might get hung up in a barbed-wire fence, or go so far that she couldn't find her way home. So I went back to walking her on a leash, until the past week or so. Now she stays within view; if she gets too far away, I call and she comes running back.
I can let her out the door in the morning and know when she's done her business she'll come back and either scratch once on the door or bark, to let me know she's back. She also barks or scratches the door when she wants out. I've seen dogs that would ruin a door with their scratching, but Iris is very gentle and only does it once. It's really been fun watching her settle in; the changes in her have been remarkable.
I guess you can teach an old dog new tricks.
Clyde the calf is coming along, too. The last three times I had to put him in the barn so I could milk the next day, he walked into the stall without my having to chase him. I guess he's finally figured out he may as well go in quickly, because I won't leave him alone until he does.
And that's your animal report.