On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Calves | by Linda Brendle

Published in the Rains County Leader on November 18, 2021:

Those of you who have been raised around cattle all your lives and know everything there is to know about these four-footed critters might want to pass on reading this column. If you choose to read on, keep in mind that the author is, as the column name indicates, a city girl and knows nothing about the bovine species – except that they are delicious when grilled and served on a bun with a little mustard and a few veggies. Given this disclaimer, you may wonder why I chose this subject. It just seemed a natural choice after several calves came to my notice recently – so if you opt to read on, be charitable.

As Spike’s official dog-sitters and his unofficial step parents – along with his small herd of cattle, we usually receive baby pictures when new calves arrive. Friday I received a text with a picture a shiny black baby girl weighing fifty pounds or so. Stella said she was born on Wednesday but disappeared soon afterward, probably hidden by her mother to protect her from the large group of buzzards that attended the birth. The baby was safe, though, because she and mama were at the fence to see Kent and Stella off when they left for home group. At lunch after church on Sunday, we discussed names for the newborn. Mama’s name is Annabelle, so the name has to include Anna. The odds-on favorite by the end of the meal was Julianna.

David and I will be staying with Spike for a few days at the end of the month, so we will be able to see Julianna in person – or at least through the fence. Considering our lack of experience with and our aversion to being stepped on by animals that weigh upwards of half a ton, others come in to feed and care for the non-domesticated livestock. All we do in that regard is count noses each morning to be sure no rustling has occurred in the dark.

We actually had a calf encounter closer to home. A couple of weeks ago we pulled into the driveway after a trip to the gym, and David said, “Is that a calf next door?” Sure enough, a little white and brown calf about the size of a German shepherd was curled up against the fence between our property and the neighbors. Like Kitty when she first entered our lives, the calf has a very loud voice for his size. Shortly after we arrived home, he began to bawl, and he kept it up almost continuously for a couple of days. My guess is that he missed his mama. The day after his arrival, he was standing quietly by a pen at the back of his yard that held chickens at one time. I walked back to say hello, and noticed a little black pig in the pen. The calf wasn’t interested in coming any closer to me, but my presence apparently reminded him of his loneliness, and he bawled for a while.

Now that he’s been in residence for a while, he seems to be adjusting. The pig is now out of the pen, and they are often close together. I’m not sure what the future holds for the two new buddies, but a quick search indicated that they may each reach a weight of around four hundred pounds in the next eight months or so. Life should become very interesting in the neighborhood.

My final calf story is about a Facebook encounter. Kelsie Rae Thorman, sole proprietor of Rae Photography, is an extremely talented and creative photographer. She not only has a terrific eye for lighting and composition, but she chooses and creates amazing backgrounds and settings that result in relaxed, natural poses and engaging and endearing expressions from her subjects.

In late August Kelsie added an unusual prop to her repertoire – Joey Moo, an adorable black and white calf. Joey seems like a natural in front of a camera, but Kelsie reveals that her secret to gaining his cooperation is a bottle of milk. I don’t know if he shares his milk with the babies with whom he shares the spotlight, but they seem to love him and the resulting pictures are adorable.

In October it seemed as if Joey might be entering the Terrible Twos, but it was two months instead of two years. He has a pen-mate, a solid white cutie named Lulu, who must be a bit camera shy because I’ve never seen her in the photos – or maybe she may have a bit of a wild streak. Early in the month she and Joey went AWOL, and Kelsie was frantic until they returned unharmed. 

Joey apparently enjoyed his freedom, so instead of the compliant little model, he became a mischievous imp who loved to make Kelsie chase him down instead of coming along docilely. A leash took care of that problem, and calm was restored until October 23 when he decided to use Kelsie’s leg for a step. The pictures of the bruises explained visually why she said, “He is getting a little big for cow pics!” She now has a miniature baby donkey. Can’t wait to see the results of that acquisition.

So, that’s all this city girl knows about calves – and that’s really all I need to know. If anything print-worthy happens to further educate me, I’ll be sure to let you know.

NOTE: For more information about Rae Photography, go to https://raephotography23.mypixieset.com or call 903-348-8513.



Kitty’s Story

Fallen Angel Salvage

Tatia’s Tattoo

Mom’s Long Goodbye

A Long and Winding Road

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