My Bonnie Wee Lass!

My bonnie lass

Bonnie.

 

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.

 

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12 thoughts on “My Bonnie Wee Lass!

  1. Diana Stevan (@DianaStevan)

    Julia, I discovered a few other connections we have. My mother’s family were all farmers in Manitoba, as they were in Ukraine before they emigrated. I never developed the taste for farming, but did spend a few months as a child on my uncle’s farm during the 1950 Winnipeg flood. It was a good time for a city slicker. Also, we’re both Aries; my bday is April 7th. And my middle name is Dolly. My mother’s was, too. Her name was Eudokia, but you know, after she came to Canada with her family, she ended up being called Dolly.

    You have nice plans for the future. I get that. Nice open spaces, lots of place to roam and appreciate the grand strokes of nature. Where would we be without our dreams?

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Life is interesting, isn’t it, Diana? We lived on an acreage in the country – had big gardens, horses. Our neighbors had chickens and cows. My father worked as a lawyer for the neighboring farmers and took produce, eggs, milk, horses, etc. in trade instead of cash. I spent every single summer working in the cornfields and hoeing soybeans. I love farm life. Love it. My mother is, well, she once was, a fantastic gardener. Now she grows a few things– tomatoes and lettuce, stuff like that. But then they moved to Oregon. The thing they miss most? The huge whitetail deer. The West Coast deer are teeny things! Dolly is a great name!
      My Baubi’s family (my grandmother’s family) were farmers in Romania.

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  2. Marylin Warner

    You and wee Bonnie have a story in the making, Julia.
    Have you read Nicolas Evans’ THE DIVIDE? (He wrote THE HORSE WHISPERER). It’s an excellent mystery/mainstream set in Montana, and even though Evans lives in London, he captured the state and environmental conflicts very well.

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    1. juliabarrett Post author

      Hi Marylin! Maybe! We named the bull calf Hank. That’s a pretty good bull name I think.
      I appreciated The Horse Whisperer, but I didn’t love it. Because when I was growing up my friend and her horse were hit by a car. It was a horrible accident. The horse had to be shot right there on the side of the highway and my friend spent two weeks in the hospital. So when I read The Horse Whisperer I suffered PTSD. But perhaps I’ll give The Divide a try. Nicolas Evans tells a good story. That particular story was just too upsetting for me.
      Right now I’m totally into the Walt Longmire series. Loving it!

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