Waiting for the birth of a calf is so exciting, sort of like Christmas but lacking the known "date" the gift will arrive. Bridgit grows ever closer to delivering her first baby, and now receives frequent checks (more frequent than my normal peeks). Night before last I was so excited I couldn't properly sleep, so I slipped outside in my pjs and a coat (and shoes, can't step in cow pies with bed feet) just before midnight, using my lantern to light my way as I looked for the girls. I didn't have to go far; they were just in the paddock. (How convenient!) My check didn't reveal anything new, but I did glimpse a shooting star, and the stars in general were electrifyingly bright in the dark sky. I checked her before I left work yesterday, too, just to cover my bases.
Thankfully last night I was able to sleep like a log, my ear plugs blessedly drowning out the bellowing of a neighbor's cow who is likely separated from her calf for weaning (the cow's been going on day and night for two days now). This morning I slipped on my boots while my car warmed up, and slipped out the pasture for a check. The girls were along the back fence, Bridgit up and chewing her cud. This morning she had more mucus than I've seen yet (mucus strings are signs of impending labor), and her little udder was maybe a bit bigger, but I had no clear signs she was actually in labor, so I left for work. I hope I made the right decision.
This morning, too, I finally called the American Highland Cattle Association (AHCA) for our herd letter assignment, the three letter combination that will be used in ear tatoos for all calves born to our herd. Our herd letters are SKM. Bridgit's calf will have the tatoo SKM1V; the 1 indicates the baby is the first born in V, the year 2008. (Sheila's will be SKM2V if born this year, or SKM1W if born in 2009.) We need to buy the tatooer and ink so we can take care of this requirement for all registered calves.
Paul and I have both been thinking of calf names for our first new arrival, and like a lot of expectant parents, I'm sure, sort of feel we need to wait to see the baby to get a really good idea on names. I did find out, though, that we are required to use our farm name or herd letters in the calf's registered name, but the name cannot be more than 28 characters in length, including spaces, as ACHA's registration system can't handle more than that. For fun, I ran a few of the names I have thought of through an online character counter I sometimes use for work projects. Here's how they stacked up:
Skookumchuck's Spookumchuck (for a Halloween baby): 28 (yeah!)
Skookumchuck's Misty Morn (for a heifer, obviously): 27
Skookumchuck's Autumn Mist (probably a heifer): 26
Skookumchuck's Shooting Star (could be a bull or heifer) : 28
I wonder what names Paul has rattling around in his brain?