Friday, October 30, 2009

And so it begins again...

I was just thinking back to this time last year, when I obsessively checked both Bridgit and Sheila every morning for two months at 6:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. in the dark with the flashlight, studying vulvas, feeling pin bones and judging udders, unsure of when their calves would come and yet certain it would be any day.

That time was entertaining for my readers and frustrating for me. I have no idea how the cows felt about it, but they must not have minded much...they were good sports and didn't hurt me, at least.

This year I'm physically in the same waiting realm, but mentally in a whole different place. I can fully appreciate now how difficult it is to know when a cow will calve. Based on the dates of Tabor's visit, Sheila could calve anytime between November 16th and February 8th. Bridgit, since she didn't take with Tabor and had a visit from the back-up (but mighty fine) boyfriend, Umberto, should calve between April 8th and May 17th.

How do I know this? The handy dandy gestation calendar. Full term for cows is 273 days, plus or minus 10. (Big plus or minus, huh?!) Sheila's calving window is obviously much longer because Tabor "stayed over" a long time.

I'm not obsessing, but I am keeping my eye on both girls. I went so far the other day as to pull photos from the same week in 2008, looking at Sheila's roundness then and now. Prior to that I was certain she wouldn't calve until December this year, but the photos seem to indicate she's about as big and pregnant right now as she was with giant T-Bone. Her crankiness, too, seems indicative. She doesn't appreciate me standing behind her with a camera, trying to take photos of both sides of her at once. I swear the other day I saw her right side moving and swirling as if a calf was tumbling around inside. It could be my imagination, though.

What I do know is we can be prepared with our calf kit and emergency instructions, but predicting delivery dates is a game I already failed memorably at. I'll just watch and wait (patiently), navel dip and bathroom scale at the ready. Regardless, I can't wait to see what our new calves will be like...bulls, heifers, colors, size,'s all so exciting!

Sheila of the Big Belly, 2009


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