Although I can't complain, given how much snow some parts of the country are getting, here on the farm, this is the season for mud and then some. It turned out also to be the season to bottle feed a calf, something we always try to avoid, but this time there was no choice.
When we returned home from Sunriver at the beginning of January, one of the first things we saw was a newborn bull calf with no mother nearby. Looking through the herd for a reluctant mama, Farm Boss couldn't see any of the usual tell-tale signs.
One cow though showed interest in the newborn, made that mothering sound. He felt that had to be mama, but she wasn't letting the calf suckle. We were irked because this particular cow had rejected her first calf. We were also a little surprised as she had been a good mother ever since that first abandonment.
Nevertheless, he got her into the pen with the calf. She jumped a four foot fence to get back out. After a couple of her escapes, we were tempted to use a gun on her, but we resisted. The battle of getting her in where the calf was, having her get out, and then watching her call to the baby went on as we supplemented the calf with milk replacer.
One morning Farm Boss came back from the barns and said that cow deserved the mother of the year award. It turned out she had a calf all right, but one born while we were in Arizona probably and not noticed given our hectic schedule. She was trying to mother the new one too, get back to her own, and deal with humans who didn't understand what was going on. She did not have enough milk to feed two calves.
We resigned ourselves (after failing to find someone who would buy it) to bottle feeding until the little bull (soon to be a steer) could go on solid food. I really hate doing it as it gets you attached to an animal that is meant for food at the best and might die prematurely at the worst. (The fear it might die is why I had not written about it here earlier). We are not naming him and he is staying in with the cows where he sometimes plays with the other young calves-- especially super mom's.
We did get a plus from it when two of our grandsons came out with their folks to get closer to a calf than is usually possible and find out what it's like to feed one.
Right now there isn't much to say about farm work other than means working around a lot of mud. Spring can't be too far off, can it? The orphan stays in the barn, looks out, but isn't interested in navigating that treacherous sea of muck. I asked Farm Boss to take a photo of me in the mud just north of the barn to to show how much there is. This is not the deepest section.
I could have gone out further but wasn't interested in getting stuck.. or worse ending up sitting in it which would have made an interesting photo but not much fun. Incidentally, I am a huge fan of Muck boots. I remember many years trying to walk through mud with inferior boots. In mud, there is no substitute for Muck boots (yes, it is a brand name).