Calving has begun in earnest. The barn is so full of hormones I get a contact high every time I walk in there. Last Sunday at milking, Posy had that blimpy look that means it’s almost show time. It was an awfully cold day to be born. During chores, the sharp wind of late November picked up the scant hard snow and spun it into devils in the field. At lunchtime, I went out to the barn to see what was happening.
Posy was by herself, lying down, standing up, pacing, stopping now and then for a mouthful of hay. This was her first calf and her udder was so tight it looked almost translucent. Posy was a beautiful heifer, shaped like a fat triangle, and glorious in her ripeness. I left her alone for twenty minutes, and when I went back, she was lying down, with two small calf feet sticking out of her vulva, wrapped in the white caul. Kelsey had arrived, and was sitting in the hay, watching quietly, and I joined her. The feet advanced, then retreated, in nature’s maddening way. Posy stood again, pawed and sniffed the straw where the birth fluids had spilled. Then she lay down and…” (Continue reading this Essex Farm Note.)
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