Saturday, February 24, 2007

Wee Calfie Remembers Me



It seems a long time since I have walked among the cattle. I remain surprised how much I enjoy it. Morris wanted to show me today the new gate the men who work here designed themselves. It will make life easier for us and for the cattle. He also wanted to show me his new information system. I strolled with him as he commented on this feature and another of the steading and the cattle. Without thinking too much about it consciously, I noted a collection of cattle in one pen and said that must be where Wee Calfie is. "Probably," he replied, still keen on showing me the system and his latest improvements.

After admiring all the changes and looking at all the other cattle, I came back to the pen and called out Wee Calfie's name and looked for recognition among the cattle--many of whom look much like Wee Calfie. Wee Calfie, as always, was one step ahead of me. She was standing apart from the others looking through the gate waiting for me to recognize her. "My how you've grown" takes on a a whole order of magnitude when talking with a heifer. Wee Calfie now weighs about 500 Kg, about a ton.

I stroked her broad forehead and brought her a bit of silage with a few flakes of barley in it as a special treat. She rubbed her head eagerly accepting the pats and stuck out her tongue as if she were expecting the milk bottles I used to feed her. I laughed. The others came slowly up to the gate beside her. Perhaps some of them remember me, too. I adopted all the young calves when Wee Calfie was weaned. Twice a day I brought them hay and barley mixed with sugar beets.

Wee Calfie has the makings of a good mother. Every day I told her she would grow to be the mother of champions. With a little bit of luck, Wee Calfie and I can grow old together.


10 Comments:

At 2:41 PM, Anonymous ampiggy said...

My husband and I often wonder how much of the past our kitties remember, especially their lives before they came to live w/us. I'm glad Wee Calfie remembered you. Re how much nonhumans know and remember, once I read a story by Ursula K. LeGuin written from the viewpoint of a laboratory experiment-weary worm or some such who was being tested for intelligence and the criterion was how well it could navigate a maze. The creature actually was part of a civilization with longstanding and elaborate traditions, and it performed a religious ritual dance thru the maze corridors, trying to communicate to the human scientist, and of course it didn't get to the end. The scientist thot it was not intelligent. Then it died.

It's great to have landgirl back. Vicki was just asking about her this week.

 
At 7:47 PM, Blogger Paul said...

Yeah, but "Dances with Cattle" - I don't think that would work for a movie.

 
At 3:49 PM, Blogger Hayden said...

love that image of growing old with wee calfie. I hope to grow old with my puppy. There is a certain roundness, a connectedness in the image. Especially with something as separate and independant as a cow. (Ok, I know they take a lot of care, but it's not like a house dog, if you catch my meaning.)

 
At 6:10 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

Oh, "Dances with Cattle" just does not resonate--you are right! Your comment made me laugh out loud. I shared it with Wee Calfie, but I had to explain it to her, and so it lost some of its zing.

 
At 6:11 PM, Blogger landgirl said...

I do know what you mean about the differecne between caring for a house dog and caring for cattle. We haev critical times when we need to be very involved but then the cattle can be left to their own devices more or less for awhile.

 
At 7:47 AM, Blogger scorrie said...

so wee calfie remembers you // and why not, but I still wondered if she would // nice to have you in the buildings again // and now calving is near so maybe we will need you to looksee now and again as Spring moves on // scorrie //

 
At 9:28 PM, Blogger ZACL said...

Calfie will protect her young but I wonder if she will let you come close the way you can now? It would be so interesting to know. Will you be keeping her?

The'Pet' lambs so-called for the same reasons, are so funny to watch; they become imprinted on the human who fed them, jump and balance on walls that the other ewe-reared lambs never seem to. They never grow as large as the others, though they are usually sturdy.

The only time calves and cows came up to me and let me pat them, was when I was heavily pregnant. Now there's a strong message and more than a wee bit of identification!

 
At 10:54 PM, Blogger Paul said...

By now you would have already given thought to "The Cattle Whisperer" then. Do they need that? They seem so calm - normally. Of course then there are the stampedes. Do these happen often?

As you can see, I have much to learn about cattle. I did meet one, I think, on a river bank this one time when I was about seventeen. I'd taken my little sister on an inflatable raft up a local river and we got off and walked around.

We saw this bovine-looking creature in a field, maybe a few of them, it was a long time ago. I just remembered we approached the one and it sort of raised its head suddenly and we saw it had horns. Little stubby ones, but still...

So we left. We didn't stampede ourselves, just backed away rather cautiously. You're always told if you run from a dog it'll just run after you, so we figured cattle must have about the same instincts.

That's about all I have for cattle stories.

Oh, I do have one other one but I think it was a cow.

I would really hate the branding. Sounds pretty excruciating. Couldn't you just tattoo them or something?

 
At 5:42 PM, Blogger Patry Francis said...

I love this post. I once formed a relationship with a "wee calfie" at a nearby farm. Her name was Fay and she and I shared a birthday. It was many years ago now, but Fay and her amazingly soulful gaze are still with me.

 
At 6:55 PM, Blogger Paul said...

I like this post too but it's not changing.

Does this mean you're waiting for my other cow story? Or maybe it was cattle, I'll never know...

 

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