Bird Creek Ranch
Calves always manage to arrive before a storm.  This weekend was no exception.
Saturday was a sunny 54-degree day, a good time to move the cows to a winter pasture.  That in itself was amazing because we were still waiting for really wintry weather.  Those conditions arrived yesterday with a cold wind that only brought a skiff of snow but lowered the temperature last night to –1.
As the cows began to move from one field into another, it became apparent that one cow was lagging way behind.  So while Jim moved the main group through the gate and into the new field, I went to investigate.
It turned out to be Leslie, one of a pair of cows we call the Velcro Sisters.  Over fifteen years ago we bought two heifer calves when they were five months old.  We fed them together; they slept together; and as a result they hung out together.  Although they are indeed half-sisters and have similar body types, their horn sets and heads are key to telling them apart.
This year Leslie produced the first calf of 2012.   Alert to my presence, she slowly moved her offspring in starts and stops.  A mother, with the vigilance of years on the praire, and the new calf, moving with the deliberateness required of first steps, the pair trailed far behind.  
Symbolically, it seemed absolutely appropriate that the calf’s first long walk across a field of brown-gold grass, was though a gate and into the future of a new year.  
© 2012 E.L. Kittredge
First Calf
Monday, January 16, 2012