Hmmm. Although we have learnt a lot in the last year, we are still making some repeat mistakes.
Last year we had a surprise bull. He's now a beefy steer, relatively placid. Quite greedy, he's the first to come and see what food offerings we might have. And an odd penchant for standing in the water trough.
He has a thing about water. When we were having trouble with their trough I was manually filling it with a hose on a hot day. The steer would amble over and play with the water jet, biting at it like a dog, sticking his head in and snorting in outrage. Quite funny to watch, but he must have enjoyed it as he would do it every time.
He was a surprise in that we weren't expecting it at that time, and we came out one day and there he was. ( I think now he was slightly premature, given the problems he had getting started.)
That won't happen again, we'll manage the birthing process properly, mark the calendar and keep an eye on them. Won't we?
But I've been busy, burning the candle at both ends, juggling three part-time paid jobs to catch up financially. There's plenty of feed and water, so I haven't been paying too much attention to the cows. They are due, we thought, from December 15 on.
Except we were wrong. The bull was more efficient than we thought.
There was a lot of bellowing going on a couple of nights back, and the commotion was a moving one. I assumed it was one of the younger cows getting frisky and making her availability common knowledge. But in the morning I went out to make sure everything was ok.
And there was a new surprise calf.
We've had some nice things happen since we moved here, but this is one of the highlights, for me. We have a beautiful, gentle Angus cow. She's an unusual animal, in that she is a red Angus, a glorious tan color from nose to tail. She's now minding a stunning chocolate brown calf.
Its her first, and she was a little unsure on Day 1. She let me in close and I was able to check the calf out and confirm it’s a female. Three days later she's running the show. She's happy enough to take a feed from me if I approach, but no closer than five metres. One step closer and she'll call the calf and they walk away.
Which is how it should be….