What you do in your house is worth as much as if you did it up in heaven for our Lord God. We should accustom ourselves to think of our position and work as sacred and well-pleasing to God, not on account of the position and work, but on account of the word and faith from which the obedience and the work flow. ~ Martin Luther

Wednesday, November 25, 2015


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.  

Oh boy.

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! 


Rhonda said...

Aww, welcome to the world, calf Acorn

Psalms w guitar said...

That's so awesome! I'm so glad we got to see this!

Rosemary said...

Hi Rebecca.
I know nothing about cows and calfs, except that they are cute. Why must Acorn drink from a bottle and not from Mommy?

Regina said...

How exhilarating! And it looks like they're both "over the moon" with Acorn. What a beautiful creature.

Megan @ Purple Dancing Dahlias said...

What a cutie pie! We like to have spring calves here, late May early June. It's almost guaranteed that we will have nice weather. We had winter babies one time and it was just way too cold.

Also, no need to let those nurses whisk away baby for a bath. Vernix is so healthy for newborn skin and you want all those pheromones that aid in mommy/baby bonding to stay intact. I love new baby smell. :)

Rosemary - often times when you milk cows, normal milking practice is to pull the baby from mom and bottle feed. We like to keep our calves on their mamas and only milk once a day for the first three or four months. In our experience it makes for healthier calves and it's easy on us. This also makes it so we don't have so much milk to handle and do something with. Lots of different ways to make having a house/milking cow work. :)

Rebecca said...

Rosemary~ I have asked Matt that very question both times we've had a calf! :-) People do things differently so while we choose to do it this way, some people (like Megan above!) let the calf drink from its' mother. Matt prefers to bottle feed our calves because calves don't drink as much milk as a cow produces. Letting the calf drink from the mother will cause the cow to produce less milk and may cause problems like certain teats not being milked out properly, which can lead to infections and problems. Matt is all about efficiency and wants his efforts to be as fruitful as possible- so he wants to be sure to have as productive an animals as possible- he won't be happy unless we are DROWNING in milk! ;-)

The calf gets Mama's milk though- so it is just as healthy for the calf as if she were nursing.

Megan- yeah, we were shooting for a summer calf too but she didn't 'take' the first breeding cycle and we had to wait for a bit longer. It isn't ideal but it will have to work! You do what you must.

As for the (human) baby thing- it is funny how much I have learned from my first pregnancies and my latter ones. Each one has looked very different from the last and this one will be no different. I've grown to realize that birth isn't something that doctors/midwives need to dictate- even if they are doctors/midwives. ;-)

lydia.purple said...

Rebecca, i hope you'll have an amazing birth! And don't let the nurses snatch the baby away. It won't do anyone any harm if the baby was measured an hour later after you had plenty of time to cuddle and if you feel strong enough after giving birth, you can even demand being right there with your baby the whole time.

I've had two home births, my first born was born in the hospital. It is so so different an experience to be confidently in charge, because you are in your home. In the hospital it is kind of exhausting to fight for your wishes while the nurses and doctors constantly pressure for their routine procedure and you are dealing with the normal exhaustion of giving birth too. By the way it's not to late to make such a birth decision. Now. My first home birth was only decided upon 2 weeks before birth:) that's a whole other story. Anyways not trying to tell you what to do, but from reading your blog it seems like you as the kind of woman who would rock a home birth :)

Ulli said...

Wonderful! So happy Andrew was able to witness and take part in it! Birth--every birth--is precious and special. A true miracle every time. Love how the other animals came around. They knew something special was taking place. Kinda made me think of a manger so long ago with all the animals around during a very special birth! I will never be convinced that animals don't have feelings for one another. I've seen too much evidence of it. My dog who comes to me when she's frightened, the goose mourning the loss of its mate by the side of the road, and the young deer staring at the mother laying by the side of the road. The last two are not happy examples. Life is hard indeed. New life--birth--makes it so much better! Can't wait to hear about your new one! It's a great time of year to have a baby!

Rebecca said...

Lydia- a homebirth is out of the question this time around, unfortunately for me. I was really hoping to have one this go-round and spent months (and months) searching out my options but it just can't happen. All homebirth midwives around here are 2+ hours away except ONE who is not going to be certified until the end of December-best case scenario (missing Tiddle by just a HAIR). I tried to convince her to just 'happen along' my house while I was laboring and we'd work something out under the table, but she'd have none of it. (I understand that too) I don't want to go with the midwife who is over 2 hours away-given my last few births, that would mean Matt would essentially deliver. Hospital birth to HUSBAND birth is a pretty enormous jump for me and not one I am entirely comfortable with. ;-) But. Should the Lord ever allow me to be pregnant again, perhaps I will get that homebirth after all. In the meantime, I know the Lord knows all these things and has planned them according to His perfect will. So, it will all work out in the end no matter where the baby enters this world.

Ulli- I agree with you! My husband and I have debates of this nature all the time! ;-) No one ever wins out loud (though, inwardly, I know I do. hehehe) Pretty much everyone had me convinced a December baby was the WORST time to give birth ever until I have realized how quickly this last Trimester has passed with all the bustle of the holidays and festivities. It is actually pretty darn great! :-)

Abigail said...

Eh, this was exciting news and all...until Ineke came along. Ineke trumps Acorn any day of the week!