After a little visit to the Chez Hillaire Resort, Carmelita returned to the barn, eager for a big drink of warm Mama Coco's milk!
We were so relieved to see her gain enough strength to quickly resume barn life. I was so relieved to get the hay and the animal out of the dining room before our dinner guests arrived. Last night we put the little thing in a little warm room in the middle of the barn, just to make sure her temperature did not drop again. She happily rushed to Coco after I finished milking and took care of clean up duty. Tonight she was so frisky we left her to the ministrations of her doting mom.
Priscilla is making us play the crazy waiting game. Yesterday morning I checked her first thing and she looked as if she were dilating. After the chores were finished I went back to check, assuming that she would follow Coco's pattern and be ready to pop.
Nothing doing. Since Tuesday evening she has been showing all the same signs Coco did, but with no reward of a baby. My dad tells me that it is important to keep an eye open on a first-time heifer, anticipating anything that might go wrong, breech baby, weak mother, prolonged labor, frozen baby. A good dairy cow is a very valuable asset on the farm. For one thing, they cost around a thousand dollars. For another, it takes about two years for the heifer to be old enough to breed and subsequently give milk. If the cow gives three or four gallons of milk a day, you can imagine how valuable that commodity is, that provides milk, cheese, yogurt and butter for our family and several others, not to mention the by-products of whey and buttermilk that help feed our pigs and chickens.
All growing up I have heard horror stories of lost heifers, due to one problem or other. Still hear them.
So even though it seems like a lot of trouble, we keep our eyes open, popping in to the barn to offer fresh hay and water and consolation, checking out the rear view. And besides, the Bible gives several verses encouraging one to care well for his/her animals.
If my memory serves me, Priscilla did seem to make friends with Duncan around a week or so after Coco. Maybe this weekend. Her poor udder is so swollen I can't imagine it getting any larger. She looks like she will be an amazing milk cow. If she is anything like her mama, I have no doubt.
The children are so hungry for milk. We are saving all Coco's milk for the baby, in case of emergency. The fridge is full of over three gallons. But tomorrow, God willing, we will have cream for the coffee, milk for the hot chocolate.
I can hardly wait!
Will keep you posted. Hopefully we will soon hear a very happy ending to this saga. Rose is counting on the baby being a girl. I say MEAT. I mean, boy.