Great news! We're expecting...two pregnant Scottish Highland cows in early July!
We visited Rustler's Roost Ranch yesterday in Yacolt, WA, spent about four hours there (we're exhausted), and wrote the check that secures our ownership of Rustler's Bridgit, a bred two-year old red cow, and Sheila of Valhalla, a soon-to-be-bred (hopefully) four-year old red cow. Sheila is in a separate pasture from the herd sire, Tabor, currently, but will be moved into his place today to hopefully facilitate a little action. She'll get six weeks with him, and then both girls will come home to their new space in Tenino. (Bridgit is already in Tabor's pasture he's not showing any interest in her, meaning she's probably already pregnant from their three month conjugal visit this past winter.)
We weren't able to approach either animal (they don't know us, and aren't petting zoo animals so weren't really into the whole "Come here, pretty cow, let me touch you" thing). We were in the pasture with Sheila and a steer she was hanging out with, and she is pretty skittish. Apparently she used to be very approachable before she had her first calf, Bestla, and then something happened (who knows what) and now she will only come if the rancher has his grain bucket. But once she comes over, she can be handled. We're hoping being lead cow (she's the older of the two, and definitely has bigger horns) in a comfortable, quiet, open space will help her to mellow out. Plus, she's going to get a lot more used to us, as she'll be able to see us from most places in the pasture if we're out in the backyard (unless she's out by the road flirting with the neighbors, which would be just fine!).
We have a few things to do before the girls come home, including adding two new cross fences with gates to split our L-shaped pasture into three separate ones (so we can rotate them and allow the ones they graze in to recover awhile before they return) and stock up on a few supplies - including some tough metal-toothed grooming combs! Yes, they LOVE to be combed! It's probably a good thing, as they get pretty shaggy in their winter coats and can use the help shedding it and looking pretty again.
We were talking the other day about how we still haven't met most of our neighbors (just the old guy next door and the folks kitty-corner across the street), and how it doesn't seem right to trudge door-to-door to introduce ourselves when folks seem so private. Well, maybe seeing two long haired redheads with horns in the pasture next to the road will excite some interest and coax a few neighbors to come by and meet Bridgit and Sheila!
Next step...brainstorming to come up with a ranch/farm name by which our cattle will be identified (any we register out of Bridgit and Sheila), and coming up with the ranch/farm letters for ear tatoos on any future heifer calves. We're open to suggestions here...send your ideas over!
Sheila being combed by the rancher's kids.