After much consternation, some research, and lots (though not enough, as you’ll soon read) of fence construction/preparation, we four got a cow.
Her name is Midnight Gertrude B.
We call her Gerty.
Gerty is approximately four months old, weighs around 250 pounds, and is very wonderful. She is a holstein-jersey cross, and is completely black. We do love her.
Here’s the story of how we got her, and how we lost her, and how we got her again…
As I have previously admitted, I am a Craigslist junkie. So in my browsings, I came upon a listing wherein a woman was selling holstein-jersey heifer calves for a good price. I seized upon the opportunity, and informed Taylor that it was time to purchase, and that I intended to make it a Christmas surprise for Kate. He concurred, so we went to work, erecting a 3-strand barbed wire fence around the lower half of our back yard, where we intended to keep Gerty (of whose name we did not yet have knowledge), until we had finished fencing the main pasture.
As with all tasks, at some point – this morning – we decided our job was sufficient, and so we scheduled an evening heifer pick-up. We modified the bed of Taylor’s truck to hold the little lady, and sped off to work a few hours at an actual paying job in Camdenton, before driving to Lebanon (a little over an hour from home) to pick up our future milker.
The woman selling the calves was so friendly and accomodating (we had forgotten money for hay, so she gave us a bale with our promise that we’d send her a check, and she gave us a section of metal rail to use as a top for our rigged-up truck bed, which we intend to return).
We arrived home, and deposited Gerty in the back yard, near the straw-filled stable we had set up for her. She was skittish – in a new place, in the dark, without all her other calf-friends around – and so ignored the fresh hay and water and straw, and ran nervously around the yard. We shut the gate and headed up to the house for dinner.
After dinner, Kate and I went down to bid our newest farm-member guten nacht; she was no longer in the yard. We looked and looked, but that yard is not big enough to hide in for long. So we informed Tay and Aige of the loss, and they helped us look for her (after Adrienne finished cutting Taylor’s hair, of course).
Taylor and I hopped in the truck and drove up and down the street looking, only to find our poor, confused calf standing in front of our future-garden, looking very black and very lost.
We corralled her back into the poorly-fenced yard, and decided that until the fence can be checked over and repaired, Gerty must stay in the currently-unused chicken house. She has plenty of room and is sheltered from the wind in there – for now, it’ll have to do.
Over the next few days, we’ll keep you posted concerning our dear future-milker’s acclimatization. But let it suffice to say that, besides the half-hour of gut-wrenching anxiety, we love having our little calf, and can’t wait until she grows up and gives us gallons and gallons of unpasteurized, non-homogenized, hormone-free, antibiotic-free, raw, creamy milk!