We bought a jersey-gursey dairy cow last March. I had visions of cream and butter, cheese and lots more milk to supplement our yummy goat milk. Well, I went off, kids in tow, to look at a cow advertised in the classified ads. Once the man arrived to the farm to show us the mama and her little heifer, it was almost dark. We rode out on the tractor and sort of glanced at the cow, and I did what every good article tells you not to do. I said I would take her, and would he bring her to the farm for me. Well. once she arrived to the farm, I noticed how skinny she was. How her legs were a little bowed. How she wouldn't let me near her. How much this guy charged me for the cow and calf and the transportation costs. Wow. Did I ever blow it. Someone in the area offered me half the purchase price to take her off my hands. Great. But at least she was a good mother and took great care of her baby, Priscilla, a fine looking baby.
Farm life is great for perfectionists like me, because there are so many opportunities to make mistakes and learn that I am not going to be completely crushed when I blow it, or make errors in judgement. So we never did figure out how to milk her that go around but figured we would have her bred and get future steak and hamburger out of the deal and another chance to learn how to get a cow into a milking stanchion and learn how to milk her.
After reading many cattle books and articles, I decided the perfect plan was to get our sweet Coco bred in July, because that would mean a baby in April, once things were starting to green up, freezing temps would be gone, and we would be ready to learn how to milk. I thought that was such a good plan. Until Philip had continued heart problems and surgery was scheduled for July. While we were at the hospital in Charlottesville, we got a phone call that our 10 yr old daughter went through a glass in our front door and had to be flown by helicopter to the hospital for life-threatening arm injuries. Consequently, plans for cattle-breeding were shelved. Garden came in, goats still had to be milked, fences fixed, drs visited, laundry washed, meals cooked, tomatoes canned, green beans canned, corn frozen, berries picked, lambs and pigs and chickens butchered, cheese made, bread baked, garden weeded, children loved on, school work started and no conjugal visits were arranged for Coco and the bull next door. Next thing you know, it was October and I finally called to get Coco over to the neighbors, haranguing myself for getting myself so off the PLAN. Now it would be August before baby came.
Through it all, the Lord kept trying to get through to me that learning is the real object here. Farming imperfectly is the only way to learn. Having a plan is good. Being ruled by it is not. Better late than never! I still had some niggly little regrets about not getting it all done, but was able to be grateful that God's grace allows me a learning curve. It just gets a bit old occasionally when the phone calls still come from the neighbors letting us know that the cows are on the wrong side of the property line because we did not get the electric fence set up right. Or the goats got in the garden again and ate up all the broccoli AGAIN.
Imagine my surprise when the phone rang this morning. The neighbor called and told us that Coco had a baby calf this morning! A huge, beautiful healthy baby bull calf. My mouth dropped wide open. I was flabbergasted. Maggie, Patrick and I hustled over in our boots on an unusually warm Sunday morning. There they were. Apparently she had been bred right before we bought her in March. It felt like a miracle. As we walked, lugged, drove them back to our property we praised God for being so kind to us. All my inabilities and imperfections and we still have a beautiful baby, healthy mama and a chance to try our hand at milking again! Of all the days he could have been born, it happened to be a Sunday that was warm, not 20 degrees. On a day the neighbors were looking out into their bottom pasture, instead of off to church early. Just the other day I was praying for God to surprise one of my friends with a gift that would show how much he loved her. I didn't expect him to surprise me! Grace: unmerited favor. Guess you will have to check back in to find out what kind of lessons we get to learn through attempting the milking. One thing done differently this year, I sent an offer to our farmers yahoo group to exchange hand on tutoring for some of our farm products. HELP! Will keep you posted. And may the grace of the LORD cover us all as we imperfectly live life.