"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Cows and Compromise

One of Homero's clients just traded him a newborn Jersey heifer for a complete engine rebuild on his truck. She's healthy and adorable, and came to us on the day after she was born, after 24 hours on her mom for the colostrum. The first bottle feeding didn't go very well, but she learned quickly and is now able to suck down her twice-daily two liters in about three minutes flat. We are giving her a mixture of milk-replacer and fresh goat's milk - which is something we have too much of at the moment.

Haku is being gentle with the baby. He is very interested, but not frantically exited, the way he was with the baby goats a few months ago. I don't know if he is calming down in general around the livestock or if baby goats are simply more enticing than baby cows (I certainly think so). 

Homero says she weighs about sixty pounds. 

We set her up in the calf hutch, in the small pasture all by herself where she won't get bullied by the goats or the ponies. Just like any bottle baby, she is extremely friendly and runs up to us for attention whenever we come near. I have to admit she is endearing, even though I am not a fan of cows, in general. 

In fact Homero and I have had a few arguments about cows in the past, and I was not in favor of accepting a cow in trade for work. You can read all about my objection to cows and my (very reasonable and valid) arguments in favor of goats as a superior livestock option here: Imaginary Cows. For those who won't click the link, my argument can be boiled down to "we don't have enough land for a cow." 

However, Rowan and Homero are both over the moon about the baby. Rowan has adopted her as her own special pet and taken responsibility for feedings. Homero is already looking forward to milking her. Who am I to stand in the way of such happiness?

As much as I am loath to admit it, I have been pretty selfish about molding the farm in the image I have nurtured in my own mind and not ceding much, if anything, to the imaginings and dreams of others in the family. Homero and I have wrangled about the size of his shop; the amount of land he wanted to devote to a parking area; and how many non-running automobiles ought to be allowed to accumulate thereon. Rowan and I have wrangled about the garden space and the use of the greenhouse, and the species and placement of trees. 

Truly, I don't think of myself as a control-freak; but then again I am comparing myself in my head to my own mother, who is undeniably a control-freak of epic proportions. I suppose it is possible that others in my family might see me as just a tiny bit.... well, inflexible. 

Over the years, Homero has adopted the very effective tactic of, rather than debating with me beforehand,  simply presenting me with a fait accompli. This new cow is the latest example. She was just there one day when I got home from work. 

In my own defense, I will say that I think I have shown adaptability and if not grace, well, then at least resignation when these things happen. I am resigned to the new cow. Her name is Nettles.