Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought. Diane generally posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome and appreciated as it turns an article into a discussion.

Friday, April 24, 2009

New Birth and Rebirth along the Creek

Spring is finally here although I think it was delayed. The trees along the creek are only now beginning to leaf out. I am not sure what a normal timeline would be but this seems late. Temperatures went straight from colder than usual to the 80s this week. I guess a lot of parts of the country have experienced the same abrupt shifts. I am not complaining but have been wondering if this early warmth means I should look for a room a/c unit for the bedroom. I sleep best in a cool room. Generally the creek cools off the house by night, but the last couple of years it has sometimes not been enough. The prediction had been that this would be a cooler than usual summer. How often are predictions right?

The photos are all from the creek that forms a border (one cows don't respect) on one long side of our property and half the back before it heads for the hills.
The farm is doing well. We are still keeping an eye on one newborn calf that we thought we lost several times. He is actually a large bull calf, born right after we got home from Tucson (I mean literally right after). Perhaps the birth came too early or something went wrong in the birth canal as the baby simply wasn't acting right and didn't seem to nurse. We actually thought it had died just before we had to leave for the family beach trip. We left the body for his mother to grieve her loss before we buried it.

When we got home Sunday, the calf was still in the world, and the man looking after the farm said the calf had moved some from place to place in the barn. It now had its head up. This all was a pleasant surprise, but we still weren't sure we could keep it alive. Farm Boss put the mother in a small pen with her baby, got her in a head gate for him to nurse, but his sucking reflexes seemed weak. Still he kept living, and she kept bellowing as she demanded he respond to her. Instinct is a wonderful thing.

When she and her calf were finally released from the pen, she got him to follow her to the back. I looked out that afternoon and saw him in the middle of one of the pastures, the temperatures too warm for that much sun with flies and crows on and around him. I guess if I had had to, I could have gotten him onto a tarp and dragged him back to the barn; but before I screwed up my back for the next week, I called Farm Boss to see if he could get home right away. He did and got the baby back into the shade of the barn.

By this time we were beginning to think he might make it. That mama sure wasn't giving up. We gave him penicillin and Vitamin B injections. Farm Boss put a lot of effort into it including 1AM visits to the barn, but I think the real difference was a mother's love. She demanded (and when a cow demands, the whole valley hears about it) that he get up and come to her.

I haven't photographed him yet because it makes me sad later to look at the pictures of those who didn't make it; and when you raise livestock, some don't make it. When I am more sure he is going to survive, I will take some pictures for the blog. Whether he lives or not, that mama is one to be proud of for her spirit.

These two photos are the kind of abstract images that I often see when looking at a creek. I got some like these when in Tucson also of my favorite desert stream. The small vignettes are often the ones that seem to the most speak of place.

I never walk along this creek without feeling gratitude at being allowed to live beside it and be part of its ecosystem. It is truly a gift that never gets old as a creek constantly changes with new pleasures to be seen with every walk by or up it, and yes, I have already waded in it.

Digital painting is of spring and winter. The creek is in the newness of spring while the woman is beginning the winter of her life.


robin andrea said...

Your creek looks like a beautiful and magical place. It's always so good to live near water like that.

I hope your bull calf makes it. He sounds like a little fighter, and his mother is the essence of motherhood. I'm looking forward to photos of him.

ugich konitari said...

With so much love and care, I am sure the calf will make it. So many peoples' good vibes cant go wrong. That would be a great Mothers Day gift for the cow....

Darlene said...

Your photos of the creek are beautiful. They made me nostalgic for the creek that bisected the property where I grew up.

During the short time I lived on a ranch the owner of the property gave my husband and me a calf that was not expected to live. He said we could keep it if it lived. We hand fed it for about a week. Sadly, it didn't make it and I cried. I am too tender-hearted to be around livestock I guess. Death is a constant part of raising animals and I am not good with that part of ranch life.

I hope your bull calf survives. His mother is surely doing her part.

Paul said...

Ever skinny dip there Rain ? It looks like a lovely creek...

Mary Lou said...

How is the baby? I hope he makes it....I'm surprised he hasnt been coyote bait!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

That creek is just BEAUTIFUL from every angle, too....I can see why you love it so, Rain....Do you have any Natural Clay there? When we had our Farm in Penn. we had a lovely creek that had this wonderful beautifyl brown clay under the water, though near the surface...I LOVED IT!

I hope that little calf makes it. It has to be quite heartbreaking when one doesn't, especially when the mother is trying so very very hard!