Life is funny sometimes and sometimes not so much so. Spent the day today putting out with the herd two of the last three bummers we had down at the barn. Now the only one left is my little Dot, who is not so little anymore at 300 lbs. I'm just not ready to let go of her. You see I have been momma to her from the moment she was born back on May 18th. Yup even know her birthday, just like any proud momma does. Her momma had gotten stuck in a mud tank a few days before and just did not have enough energy after getting her out and delivering a baby, so Dot became mine. She slept in the house in a dog crate for the first few weeks until the weather turned warmer and she was a little more stable on her feet. Then she graduated to the back yard and there she would stay until fall came and the hubby decided she was big enough to graduate to the barn yard. I was not all that happy having her that "far" away, but knew it was the next step in her life as a ranch cow. Now the next step will be to turn her out with the herd and let her grow-up and have babies of her own in a few years. But I'm not ready for that step. Not yet at least and the hubby, taking a soft heart for me has allowed Dot and I a few more months together.
Why is it so hard for me to let go of this one calf? I have bottle raised others before, turning out the heifers and seeing the steers go to the sale with no tears shed or heavy heart thinking about not seeing them again. Dot is different because of what happened before I was given her as a precious gift. You see last winter was a hard one for me, as it found me having to help with my first c-section and first birth. Drying off that little heifer calf and helping her stand only to have her stop breathing in my lap a few moments later just about broke my heart. No amount of CPR, and I tried my best, would bring her back. I cried like a baby that day sitting in the mud and snow on the side of a dirt ranch road, wet and shivering myself just holding on to that calf and wishing there was something I could do. The hubby was good enough to not argue when I wanted her buried under a tree so that I could visit her from time to time and so I would know that she was taken care of.
That was why when the hubby called the house on that Sunday evening in May and told me to bring the vet bag, blankets and towels I gathered the girls and headed out the pasture with a heavy heart and a great deal of nervous feelings. All I could think was please let this one go better, I don't want the girls to see this, not yet in their lives. While the girls know that not every birth ends happily I just was not ready for them to be there to see it first hand. I was at least lucky with the last one that the girls were in school that day and not there, but this time would be different, they were right there with me. I am happy to say that May 18th turned out to be a very different day than the previous experience. Dot was trying to get up almost from the moment she hit the ground and she has not stopped since. What I lost that first time with the other calf had been given back to me ten fold with Dot. There were tears shed with Dot's birth also, although this time in joy and not sorrow. Dot is not just part of our ranch she is part of my heart and that part is hard for me to let go of just yet. So I go down to the barn and visit with her, we play and spend time together and I try to prepare for a time when she is not down there for me to play with anymore.
I'm sure that when we turn her out with the herd in March that there will be more tears shed. I will worry over her when she gets ready to have her first calf and when the time comes that she is too old to go on more tears will be shed. But if I have learned nothing else during my time as a ranch wife it is that sometimes you just need to cry.