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April 16, 2011

I forgot to knock on wood.

I read about Polly on Two Maids A Milking the other day and my comment on the blog post was:

"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."

 and not that I honestly believe that knocking on wood would of made a difference, but I forgot to and that is the silly thing that popped into my head!

The day started out fine - 2 kids and a friend stayed here last night and 1 kid at the neighbors - I decided to head into town and get some donuts for breakfast.  Halfway to town I get the call "MOM Raye's (one of our cows) waterbag broke and we saw hooves" quickly followed by "but you have time to go ahead and go to town"  - they knew I was headed to get donuts!

I called the neighbors told them they could come down and bring my kid home as well, I picked up these 2 dolls and of course the donuts - back home to the barn and posted this as my Facebook status:

  "‎7 kids, donuts, milk in the barn sittin' on straw bales watchin' a cow calve - it couldn't get any better!"

and we waited!  But Raye (the cow) just couldn't get comfortable and her contractions were not regular, so we all decided to go in the house and let her work thru the initial stages of labor and get comfortable.  The kids were excellelant (all 7 of them), they asked about her, waited patiently and worried.  Chris and I kept checking her but she just wasn't getting the job done and we decided she needed a little help.  We told the kids that weren't ours to stay in the house but needed ours to help.  We gathered gloves, rope and a halter and headed out to the barn.  We worked with for a few minutes, discovered the calf was backwards and decided we needed more experienced help - a quick call to a friend, neighbor and dairy farmer Charlie, he quickly came to our rescue with a calf puller.  We hooked up the calves legs and proceeded to winch, eventually Raye layed down and we got the calf out - he had already died.

In a matter of seconds there was denial, hysterical crying and wimpering - then I composed myself and looked over at my kids - they were all 3 standing together hugging each other and tears were running down their faces.  We always tell the kids it is a possibility but for it to actually happen and your kids witness it is heart wrenching no matter how much you tell yourself you are prepared for it.  Luckily I have amazing friends who have amazing children - they handled us and their kids so well and their kids were respectful and sorry for our loss - those 4 other kids, ranging in age from 3-10 amazed me today with their maturity and sincerety in this situation.

I have said before that my kids never cease to amaze me and today was no different - they felt for each other and especially for My Midget (Raye is her cow and this was to be her calf).  My Cowgirl tucked her sister in with blankets and stuffed animals and told her if she needed anything to let her know and she would take care of her.  My lil' Farmer immediatly went to the garage and built a cross out of scrap wood, painted it and asked his sister to name the little calf so he could write it on the cross.

 'Little Bo's' cross will stay in the landscaping around my house for as long as the kids want!

And while we are fully aware of how truly blessed we as a family are, at least for today on this farm we are sad and heartbroken at the loss of this little calf.

My updated FaceBook status was:
 "Some lessons in life just suck ass - it is soo hard to watch your baby's cry and be heartbroken no matter how old they are."

My Cowgirl however posted this as her status:

"Living on a farm is tough. You just have to learn to gain from all experiences, good and bad ones. The bad ones just make you stronger.  You have to realize that life goes on. You can't let the past slow you down. :)"


  1. oh, i'm so sorry. the one and only calving i witnessed in my young adulthood in Wisconsin was a terrible calving in which the calf was still born and the cow later died from internal injuries. that winch is such a hard thing to witness. your kids will be stronger for it, but still sad...

  2. I am so sorry. Whatever we can do to help just let us know! Big hugs to all!

  3. Wow~! Your Cow Girl is growing up to be a great young lady! So sorry you lost the calf. It IS a sad moment, especially if there were plans for this calf in Midget's heart and mind. It's like all loss, regrets and what-might-have-beens. Hopefully Raye's next time will be easier and more joyous!

    Hugs to all!

  4. Your Daughter has a grown -up comment on the Facebook. I think that is great. We lost our little calf the other day that was born with some deformities. She lived for about 3 weeks.

  5. I'm so sorry to hear about the loss of your calf. It's never easy, but it sounds like your daughter has taken in the very important lessons that you've tried to teach.

  6. I am so sorry to hear that:( Losing someone or something is never easy....((hugs))

  7. I'm so sorry! Living on a cattle farm you always know in the back of your mind that things like that are a possibility, but it's still tough when it does. My pet heifer Laila had her first baby this year and it had to be pulled and was stillborn. It really sucks!!

  8. "Hugs" to you all. I'm so sorry for your loss.
    Your daughter is so grown up to speak that way on her facebook. Sounds like you've taught her well!

  9. Why do these lessons have to be taught to our kids? Hang in there momma. Praying for a new calf to come into her life soon.

  10. As hard as it may seem or sound, sometimes it's easier to learn these life lessons with livestock on a farm. When I think of various health issues I have seen with family and friends, having experienced it first with livestock made it a little easier to understand later with humans. Thought and prayers for you all!

  11. Lana posted a comment on my site and left a link to your story today because we lost a calf too on Saturday. On of our brute cows had her baby in the poop & mud mess in the feed lot due to all the rain. The calf tried to get it's footing, but the more it tried the more it got buried. Unfortunately my hubby works full time in construction and wasn't there to help. By the time he was it was to late and the calf died in his arms.

    I'm touched your story had a happy ending with "The rest of the story." Maybe one of these days I'll be brave enough to watch a cow calf, and when I do I hope I continue to be a meat eater.

    Thanks for sharing!!

  12. Shoot, I was there during the whole thing and am still sitting here crying. Casey is so graceful with her words.