There is nothing worse than a lost cow. Or a worried farmer.
My absolute soul mate cow was among the missing yesterday.
As I walked down the hill to the herds newest grazing area it was evident that there was something amiss. The mighty "white one" was not front and center.
I called and called for Wanda. She always answers.
The fields were silent.
It was hot and the flies were out, making our lives a bit miserable.
I shook my box of graham crackers and called louder.
My stomach felt instantly sick.
My mind became busy with horrible thoughts.
Coyotes have been a problem in the past, but I have never seen an adult coyote even attempt to attack a full grown cow. But there are also many other hazards up here in the mountains.
I walked into the steep woods and started counting heads.
I did fear the worse.
The herd was down in a valley near a stream, the calves were spread out with their moms amongst the trees and bushes..
Gwen and her calf, GrandSlam Kate, were in the pines and wanting a few crackers.
The other calves decided to follow me as I stumbled down the hill looking at every cow and checking behind every tree and in every little bramble patch.
Found this calf under a fallen pine tree.
After that search came up empty for my beloved, vocal, white cow, I started to walk up the steep hills to all the other fields. Mavis was with me. My trusty cattle dog. Right by my side.
After just 30 minutes the heat, the flies and the uphill distance were wearing me down.
I noticed that Mavis wasn't by my side anymore and looked behind me and she was sitting in the field refusing to come any further up the last hill.
As I struggled up one more steep hill. I was rewarded at the top with this:
I sat down on the hill and took in this glorious glorious sight. I was near collapse from the heat, the worrying stress and the forced hike over typical Vermont rough terrain.
I exhaled. And exhaled. And exhaled.
These damn Simmentals. They must have their calves in a different field than the rest of the herd. Each one of them walks the fence line just before they calve, hoping to go over, under or thru it to get to a better place to calve. If I had a dollar for each "calving escape" over the years, I could probably have dinner at a very fancy restaurant!
Obviously my dear Wanda figured out how to bypass the hot electric fence, something the others haven't been successful at this year.
From this distance I could see her calf was a hefty heifer. With double ring eyes. Perfect. Healthy. Big. I hoped she couldn't out run me.
As I sat and caught my breath and patted my smart, but reluctant cow dog I thought.....
Wanda wasn't due to calve for another 2 weeks.
She had no floppy vulva, nothing. No signs. No full moon. No rainstorm with the barometer dropping. She sure didn't even hint that she was close to calving.
Wanda is from the legendary Montbellard line.
Secretive. Creative. Spontaneous. Determined. That's my Wanda.
Cow dog Mavis must of known Wanda and calf were nearby when she refused to continue over the last hill.
Now I have to go all the way back to my truck to get ear tags and a weight tape. Catching this calf in this heat was going to be a rodeo.
Now that Wanda's hiding place has been discovered, I wonder if she will move again before I get back with my gear.
I decided to sit and look at this beautiful pair for awhile.
Every so often I would call Wanda and she would look at me but not make a moo. Animal Instinct tells new moms to remain quiet so they do not give away their birthing location to predators. It could be fatal.
She done good.
This is one very fancy heifer.
I need some "W" names.
Give me some shout outs of some great unusual W names.
Wanda's other daughters were named Wilma, Winnie, Whisper & Widget.
If you have any other interesting name suggestions, list those as well.