This space has been difficult for me to write in for awhile, but I'm turning a corner. Paul and I have been farming and caring for our cattle daily, but there have been so many things going on that there just hasn't been time to write about it, as you'll learn below...
Yesterday, our gorgeous red heifer, BEM Xaralyn ("Saralyn"), who we purchased in May 2012, surprised us with her first calf, a healthy, bouncing little dun bull! She was artificially inseminated (AI'd) around Memorial Day weekend last year to a lovely dun bull from Michigan, LEA Raleigh. Yesterday was actually her due date! I caught a glimpse of the calf from the road as I stopped at our mailbox before turning into the driveway. At first, I thought it was Elodie, Xoe's heifer calf, who is now (oh my gosh!) over 4 months old. By the time I parked the car, let the dog out of her kennel and turned back to the pasture, holy cow (bull!), it was a new baby!
The little guy surprised me because when I drove up, he was checking out the oat haylage with Roxy, many feet from his mama. I would have expected him to be instead glued to Xara's side. I changed my clothes as fast as I could and went out with a comb and my cell phone to snap pictures.
Xara was as calm as could be, lying down, chewing her cud with her new baby tucked tightly beside her, his head under her chin as he checked me out. I was able to (cautiously) approach Xara for some combing, which she clearly relished. She eventually stood up, and baby came around to my side, where I was able to give him some pets. (This is a relief, because we STILL can't really get our hands on Elodie, who just doesn't want much of anything to do with either Paul or me.)
Paul called my phone while I was outside, since I'd texted him that we had a calf. He was working late and was none to happy that I was in the pasture by myself with not only the new mama and baby duo, but the rest of the fold. (Never mind that the other three girls were all lying down, chewing cud, too!) I assured him I was being careful...
Careful, because I am currently 23 weeks pregnant myself. Paul and I are expecting our third child, our second baby boy, the "calm after the storm", on July 2, 2013. He was conceived through IVF and we are very, very blessed and lucky, not only that we conceived him at all after 5 years of infertility and the loss of our twins to a second trimester miscarriage in August 2011, but that this pregnancy, while scary, has been largely trouble-free. It's a whole new experience for us to not have our worries validated by reality (nope, they're just remnants of our first horrifying experience).
We have plans in place to move the herd to summer pasture, hopefully by mid-April (weather-dependent), and will bring in a leased bull in May to service Xara, Xoe and Roxy. We're aiming for March 2014 calves, timing it so (knock on wood!) they all calve at home, where we can closely watch them without fear of predators, and so their calves will be 1.5 months old (give or take) before they hit the large, slightly wild summer pasture (hoping that cougars and the like will be less of an issue by that time). It's a new year for Skookumchuck Farm. :)
Our baby boy to be. Photo taken on February 25, 2013 at 21 weeks 6 days gestation.