My birthday is coming up. I’m spending it with my daughter and son in law on their Montana cattle ranch. Their Jersey milk cow, Dolly, gave birth to twins yesterday, a heifer and a bull calf.
The heifer is a gift to me. The best birthday gift ever! I’m calling her Bonnie, because she is a bonnie wee lass! I do plan on using her as a milk cow– when we finally move to Montana– if she’s not a free-martin.
When a cow has twins, male and female, there’s a pretty good chance the female will be sterile, i.e., a free-martin. Bonnie has about a 10% chance of reproducing. I’ll take those odds because she’s a little cutie pie.
I’m heading up there in April, over my birthday (the 13th) because I love calving season! I get to feed the orphaned babies, the rejected twin, the triplets, and help some of them bond with new mommies and, of course, feed the crazy ass bulls. It’s really scary-thrilling when you carry hay out to the younger bulls in the paddock and they all charge at you.
Imagine eight 1600 pound dinosaurs stampeding in your direction. I toss the first few flakes and run like hell. Then, while they are distracted, I can scatter the rest of the hay unmolested. They’re not trying to kill me, they aren’t mean. These are the juveniles and they’re just hungry.
I get to drive the truck with the calf catcher. Help with deliveries. Make midnight rounds.
I love that life. I was born to it, well farming not ranching, but I went and married me a city slicker. Fortunately I can live vicariously through this one daughter. When she was a little kid, obsessed with horses just like me– and we had three– I always told her, “When you grow up, marry a rancher.” She actually listened to me. Now she has eight horses, 8000 acres of Montana ranch, and 500 head of cattle plus babies. And a great husband.
So here’s the evil plan… Milk cow. Chickens. Two horses. Six hundred acres in Montana. A little log cabin. Eventually Mr. City Slicker will follow. Since our daughter married into this life, he’s converted. Loves it. I think he’ll follow my lead.