The timing was impeccable.
We knew a calf would be happening over the weekend...but would it happen after Matt poured the concrete? Would the concrete have time to set properly? Would the vacuum pump be installed and the piping complete?
And what about our farm boy Andrew- the boy who had been devouring every cow and calf book he could get his hands on for the last few months- copying the texts and illustrations for handwriting and copywork during school time and reciting telltale signs of first and second stage labor to any willing (or not) listening ear at every opportunity...(I heard more about a cow's swollen and purplish vulva than I care to even think about...particularly coming from my 9 year old son.) Would Andrew be able to witness the ACTUAL birth or would Penny give birth at night...or while we were at church?
Saturday was the due date but the barn project wasn't completely done so we were hoping Penny would wait until Sunday. But Sunday- we are gone from about 9-1:30 for church and if she had her calf then, I knew Andrew would be devastated. And then- there are only another good 3 1/2-4 hours before dark and things got even more tricky.
When we left for church she was back at the edge of the woods- in the very spot where she had given birth the first time.
After church, as we drove up to the house, we all anxiously scoured the pasture for any signs of a calf. Andrew ran to Penny the moment the van shut off and raced back, completely thrilled to give us the great news that her pin bones were loose and flabby and all the other telltale signs of labor. We went inside, changed our clothes, ate some lunch and played a bit of checkers. Andrew, all the while, came in every five minutes or so to give us detailed reports of her condition. Then, at 2:45, he rushed in to tell us that there were feet! And a snout with a tongue hanging out. The boy was over the moon.
We all went outside to watch the 'action' take place but eventually Matt realized that Penny was having a bit of a time with it and not progressing as she ought. (He had bred her-a Jersey- to a Holstein, making for a bigger, sturdier calf but perhaps a more difficult delivery.) He eventually had to step in and help out.
I wish I could look so serene when giving birth...
What a scrawny thing the calf was...and a girl!
I was surprised to see that while she was technically a 'Jerstein', she was pretty much all black!
All the animals came up to watch- it was quite an intriguing show!
I know animals are animals and all that...but there is no denying that a baby loves its' Mama and a Mama loves its' baby... It was so precious to see them nuzzle each other and to see the dead-looking calf perk perk right up after its' Mama started licking it all over.
It was also super cute to see the calf eventually try (and fail) to get up. And again. And again.
It was pretty cold so Matt got the wheelbarrow to get the calf in the barn.
You should have seen how fast that Mama was up after her baby! She practically ran all the way to the barn! I have to admit, I kinda feel the same way when the nurses snatch my newly born babies away for a wash up and measurements.
The calf, dubbed 'Acorn' before she was born (and without knowing she'd come out black!), is doing well. Sturdy. Feisty. And after a few scoury days, doing very well!
Those first two days were a terrible pain to get Acorn to eat- so when she finally started eating like she meant it- well, it was pretty exciting! I love Corynn's face in this picture. That is a girl overjoyed with a calf that actually WANTS to eat.
And this is the newest face on the farm.
We are, once again, in the milk making business!