Sunday, June 13, 2010

Holy Holy Holy (Cow)

Remember how last year GI Joe issued a Cow Challenge so that I could prove that I was farmgirl enough to take on the raising of a calf, solely for petting purposes? OK, so that may not have been his sole intent, he was probably trying to a) stall on having to add more livestock to the number of mouths we already buy feed for b) get me to do all chores for a month thus leaving him choreless and able to kick back and relax. Whatever his intent, I WON THE COW CHALLENGE OF 2009! My prize? A bottle calf, preferably a Jersey as I’ve always adored their big eyes and long lashes, not to mention that my extensive internet research had told me they were among the gentlest and most docile breed of cattle. Also, GI Joe had a Jersey bottle calf growing up named Champ. He tells us stories of how Champ would run to the fence when he heard the bus pull up and would be waiting there for GI Joe to come feed him. All together now…AWWWWWW. GI Joe was quite enamored with his bull calf named Champ until one day, without warning, Champ was sold at auction while GI Joe was at school. He was traumatized and heartbroken. My psycho analysis tends to think that THAT incident is why he’s been so hesitant to add a calf to the Koons Zoo fold, so I’m trying to help him heal from that traumatic experience, that’s the kind of wife I am, by getting a Jersey calf that will be just as awesome as Champ and whom will never EVER leave the Koons Zoo, and why would he need to leave since he’ll have his own bedroom and all?

So last summer came and went and no calf. There were a myriad of reasons why we decided to put it off until this spring and summer, and given the worst winter ever that we just survived, I’m so glad we did. Besides, THIS was worth the wait…..

Meet Holy Cow. I am completely and totally in love with him. The end.

What’s not to love? Big ears? Check. Doe eyes? Check. Adorable mooing sound? Check. Long eyelashes. Check. Came right up to me and stole my heart when we went to pick him up? Check, check.

I resumed my search for the perfect calf in April and spent over a month corresponding with the President of the Iowa Jersey Cattle Club. That’s right, there’s a club, and I’m in with the president. I may have to join. We’re tight now. She gave me lots of good information but ultimately we didn’t find our calf thru her. No sirree, we found him the old fashioned way…on Craig’s List, duh. Isn’t that where all farmers get their cattle? After about 2 weeks of talking on the phone with Farmer Joe from Montezuma IA , he had a Jersey calf for us. We made the 2 hour trek to Montezuma to meet our new calfchild. I was nearly as excited driving there as I was when we were driving to the hospital for the birth of our human children. We finally arrived and Farmer Joe took me back to pick out which calf I wanted of the 2 he had. I walked up to the pen and reached in to pet one and it took off so I immediately eliminated him from the running. The other one (now Holy) walked right up to me and let me pet away. I was sold. We spent about an hour just chatting with Farmer Joe and his farmer dad. And this will probably come as a shock to you but they got quite a kick out of me and my petting zoo/farmgirl aspirations. In fact, during the time we were there they 1) informed me of an exotic auction nearby that actually sold a zebra AND camels at their last auction (I'm SO THERE) 2) asked GI Joe to take a walk so they could try to sell me the other calf (after talking with us they realized I would be an easy sell for the 2nd calf as long as my budget adhering, stick in the mud, one calf husband wasn't around) and 3) made sure that I had their numbers saved in my phone so we could stay in touch and I could purchase future calves from them should the "need" arise. They were quite amused that this calf was solely for my petting purposes and that I had to complete a chore challenge in order to get him. It's kind of like in '92-'94 when I was black, people of color sensed that I was black underneath my fair complexion and blonde hair and were just drawn to me (and still kinda are actually) but now instead of gangstas in do rags it's farmers in seed corn caps. Oh how things change.

We got Holy loaded up in the horse trailer and I tried my darndest to ride back there with him so he wouldn't be lonely or scared on the way home, but once again GI Joe had to rain on my parade and insist that it wasn't safe and forced me to ride in the truck with the rest of the family. Holy endured the trip like a champ. He did so well in fact that we decided he'd be fine waiting in the trailer in the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant while we had some chips and salsa. And no, pulling a horse trailer with a 7 day old calf in it, into the parking lot of a Mexican restaurant in a very non rural area didn't create a spectacle, why do you ask? :)

We enjoyed a delightful meal celebrating our newest family member (while he waited patiently in the trailer) and then finally made it home. It was dark but that didn't prevent us, I mean me, from taking approximately 7,000 pictures and trying his halter on him.

Bonding with their bovine brother

The next morning, a Saturday, I BOUNCED out of bed at about 6:00 a.m. to go give him his first bottle at the Koons Zoo. This was a momentous occasion, obviously, I don't bounce out of bed for much that early in the morning. Oh and don't worry I photodocumented it for you. You're welcome.

Here are the supplies needed for a bottle calf. Similac for Calves and a GINORMOUS bottle.
I got these for my, really it was.

However, unlike Similac and Enfamil Infant Formula I have yet to receive coupons in the mail for this. Bummer.

My first time EVER bottle feeding a CALF...a moment I've waited for all my life. I'm SO SERIOUS!

Holy has to eat at least twice a day, 2 quarts per feeding, once in the morning and once at night. And I have to tell you that if my newborn human babies would've been this easy to care for there might be a whole lot more of them. I'm thoroughly enjoying this part of it. EVEN at 5:15 in the morning, if you can believe that. It's just so satisfying to be feeding and bonding with this sweet little calf who will one day be a 1,000 pound steer who will follow me around like a puppy dog because we bonded over all those bottles when he was just a babe. Corny much? We're already at the point when we walk up to the fence and start calling for him and shaking the bottle he comes running towards us, and that my friends, makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside, even when it's pouring down rain at before 6am.

I've held off on introducing him to you for fear of jinxing it. Then we had a slight scare last week with Holy, but between Google and I, we diagnosed him with shipping fever aka bovine pneumonia. All I could think was, thank goodness I didn't blog about him yet because what if we lose him, I can't break that to my blog readers because I'm not sure they'll let me blog from the psycho ward and that's definitely where I'll be if he dies. Luckily, we caught it early enough and treated it right away and within 24 hours he was back in business, bounding around the barnyard. I've said this before and I'll say it again, I'm basically a veterinarian.

So there you go, that's the story of Holy. There are many more to come as calf ownership is brand new to me. I gotta tell you, he just might be my favorite Koons Zoo acquisition ever, just don't tell the emus. And in case you're wondering why my blogging has become sporadic it's because I've been doing a lot of this..

And this...

And basically, soaking up every minute of this dream that's finally been realized. Again, I'm being totally serious right now.
Also, this officially makes me a COWgirl...YEE HAW!!!!!

1 comment:

  1. He's pretty cute, Holly! Congrats again to your family.