Tuesday a fellow who owns the nearest dairy texted me asking if I was in the market for a Holstein bull calf or two. I asked him the price, and he said this week only, he'd take $100 apiece.
When we butchered our last two bobby calves, I swore off cattle forever. It's costly, by the time you raise them and feed them, but I like cows so much it used to be worth it to me for the pleasure I got out of them. So on hearing the bargain price he was asking, I decided to talk to my husband. I was thinking maybe I'd just have them for pets, something to graze in the pasture again. For two days I was mentally getting ready. I talked to Cliff and he said if that's what I wanted to do, he'd do what he had to do.
I called MFA to find out the price of milk replacer. Wow! Fifty bucks for a bag that would only last one calf for three weeks, and I was wanting two calves. That's another $200 spent at least, and I prefer to bottle feed them longer than that. We no longer have haying equipment, and most decent grass hay is $7 for a small bale. Winter is coming: Would I enjoy mixing the milk replacer with warm water morning and evening and going out in the cold to feed the babies? What about keeping them in drinking water after they're weaned?
I finally realized I wanted the calves, but I didn't want to do all that work and worrying again. It would make a lot of work for Cliff to mess with, too: going after hay somewhere, putting it up in the barn, fixing a place for the calves while they're young. And while they're on the bottle, we couldn't go anywhere and stay overnight. The grandson could bottle-feed them for a day or two, but that wouldn't be much fun for him since he often leaves for work at 4 A.M. Oh well, I had my day with milking Jersey cows and bottle-feeding calves. It's time to let it go.
Yesterday morning when Gabe and I went walking, Blue-the-cat decided to follow us, as he sometimes does. However, he made the decision to stay in the woods about halfway through our walk. He's done this before, and usually is back at the house before the evening feeding time. Once in awhile he fails to show up, and I go where I last saw him and call him out of the woods. He wasn't here at suppertime, or even breakfast this morning. While I do often have worries about him being eaten by coyotes, I was fairly sure he was back there someplace, so Gabe and I walked back to where we'd left him almost 24 hours earlier. As we got near that place, I began calling, "Blue, kitty kitty kitty!" It wasn't long before I heard him from across the canyon, meowing his loudest. He was ready to be delivered. Each time I'd call his name, he'd meow; soon we met him, coming our way. When he's home, he meows at a whisper, but he knows when to get loud. I picked him up and carried him for awhile, with him rubbing his head against my jawline, neck, and face and purring loudly. Back at the house he ate ravenously, then looked through the window to let me know he wanted in the house. I'm positive he knows the way home from back of the place; I think he just likes to make me worry.
Who needs calves when you have a dog and a cat to spoil?
|Now he's resting from his grueling time in the wild.|