Hello dear friends,

Wow what a weekend…we hope everyone enjoyed their holiday as we know school is starting back up for the little ones and the change of season will be upon us in the coming month… it’s definitely a time of transition.  Things are changing plenty around the farm too and not just with the garden… and with that being said we have some news to share with you all…

Ellie had her calf at first light on the morning of the full blue moon.  I was inside baking up some granola when Brian ran in and said I had to get my shoes on quick that he saw something with Ellie in the field.  There were no signs that she was ready to calve but it happened rather quickly.  We checked on her at first light and she was grazing in the field… and not an hour later there was a little wet calf laying in the grass.  There she was licking the baby and cleaning it off like a good mama should.  She was perky and aware and on her feet.  The calf’s eyes were bright.  We wondered if it was a boy or a girl…. we checked… A GIRL!  We were extremely excited.  We had no idea what to do despite all the cow books & forums we’d been reading and the farmer  advice we had been seeking.  Our first intuition said to call up Farmer Britt of Everbearing Farms (and Ellie’s previous owner).  She said she would make her way up within the next few hours to help us out with any questions and to check on both Ellie and the baby.  And it’s a good thing she did.  As the early morning progressed Ellie began to act funny.  She wouldn’t come when she was called and had made her way down to the furthest most point in the property with baby in tow.  Something was up and she didn’t feel right.  Britt suggested that we call the vet and get her checked out.  There was a possibility that she had Milk Fever (which is fatal if not treated) and it wasn’t worth taking the risk.  The vet was called and we were on wait for the next two hours… and it felt like the longest two hours ever.

He came right in time.  When he arrived we weren’t 10 steps away from the barn and he was already coming out getting ready to give her an IV.  Sure enough she had milk fever and was progressing quickly as she could hardly stand on her legs they were shaking so bad.  He laid her down for several minutes… within a few minutes of receiving both the IV and calcium tablets Ellie was back on her feet.  We let out a huge sigh of relief.   I asked if this was a sure sign that she would recover.  The vet said that this was the surest cure there was and her getting right back up on her feet was a great sign.  But boy, did everything happen so quickly… the excitement of the baby finally arriving, the decline in Ellie’s health, Ellie feeling better and us trying to wrap our heads around the day we just had and the big changes that were about to come.  The idea of losing her still weighs heavy on my heart and I feel a little lighter every time she stands by my side and puts her head around my body assuring me that she is as present as she ever was.

These two farmers before you are growing up and doing it quickly.  We are definitely feeling those growing pains after this weekend.  The lack of sleep, the extremely early mornings, the late nights, the 2 hour milkings, the stack of garden chores mounting in the distance, the 1,000’s of transplants that want and need to get into the soil, the transition time from just the 3 of us to the 4 of us…. but somehow it all dissipates for a moment when we see that little calf leap and bound across the field or witness her finding her mother’s milk for the first time.  Those happy moments when there is no question that things make sense.  A happy mom and a happy baby who are bonding more and more each day.  We are learning how to be a part of that process and so is Ellie.  She has never been given the chance to bond with her former calves so this is a whole new experience for her.  It took her a day or two but we see our  sweet old Ellie in there when she nuzzles up for a scratch or lays her head on our laps… we know girl, we’re tired too.  We’re proud of her for being strong and for being a really good mom and for reminding us to take it one day at a time.

We look forward to the next few weeks and to see how it all progresses.  Hopefully the milking, feedings, etc get easier.  We are being tested but we haven’t hit our final note.  Despite all the things on our list, all our responsibilities and there not being enough hours in the day, we still have hope that we can get up and do it all again.  There is no time to be too tired because there are just too many people, animals & plants depending on you.  We believe in what we do and although things feel harder than they’ve ever felt we still have confidence that we can make this work… that we will figure it out and it will become lighter with time.  After all, we’ve already learned so much in the past few days, from the baby, from Ellie, from ourselves…. we will never forget anything that happened to us over this labor day weekend.

Also,  a big thanks to everyone who came out on Friday for movie night as Singin’ in the Rain was a total hit.  It was definitely an intimate affair but it was probably one of the loveliest nights we’ve had on the farm all season.  It gave us a chance to sit down and take in the full blue moon rising up over the hills before we got the film rolling… and it somehow inspired Miss Ellora to have her calf the next morning…. this Friday we’ll be watching The Sandlot and encourage you all to come out at dusk for show time!  Hope everyone has a great week.   We’ll see you all soon.

Faithfully yours,

your farmers

dirty hands, clean hearts

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