Summer, the heifer calf came to the farm one July day in the most miraculous way. Moving day had come and gone for my nephew's herd, a half mile east of The Farm. All of his cows and their spring-born calves had been loaded and moved out. A half mile back to the west I was bottle feeding a Holstein steer and enjoying the cool morning of a hot July day. As I hung onto the square, two-quart plastic bottle while the steer nursed his fill I heard a calf bawling off to the west. Just a time or two..then it stopped. That night I heard it again and it bawled the whole time the steer nursed. The next morning I heard it again but just barely. Something was not right. I decided to go check it out and ...well, it's Summer's story so I'll let her tell it in her own way.....
Summer Comes to the Farm
How one little heifer calf came to the farm.
The first thing I ever saw was my mother's face. She worked hard to clean a lot of goop off of me. I don't know how it got all over me but I felt a lot better when she finished. Standing up was really hard but my mother kept encouraging me and told me she had a really good surprise in a pocket behind her leg but I had to stand up to get it. She was so right! It took me a while to find it but it was a GOOD surprise. It made my tummy feel all warm and good and suddenly I was very sleepy. I crumpled onto the grass and while I was drifting off to sleep I could still hear her crooning to me. The world was a very nice place.
The second time I filled my tummy she told me we were going to move to a quieter place and she started to walk away. I followed as best I could until we came to a low place at the foot of a little hill. She said it was the pond dam and that it would be shady from the big trees all day and a safe place because the smaller trees covered me up pretty well. She told me that no matter what ever happened that I was not to make any noise or leave the hidey hole if she was not there to watch over me. I stayed in that hidey hole for several days. I watched the turkey mothers and their chicks strut up the path to the pond early each morning and the deer came in the evening. They hardly gave me a glance. Sometimes in the afternoon dogs came, sometimes three or four dogs, and when the dogs came my mother always stood over me and never took her eyes off the dogs. My mother did not like dogs.
After a day or two, each morning I would take a run, making short circles and hiking my tail and it was so much fun. The world was a very nice place.
Then one afternoon I was wakened by a lot of loud noises. Grinding, rattling noises and banging noises and loud-voice noises. I peeked through the screen of leaves that covered my hidey hole and saw several very strange creatures. Something had happened to their front legs and they had to do the best they could on just their hind legs. Their legs had hardly any hair on them at all!! They were chasing all the cows and waving their poor front legs at them and making them go into a little pen and my mother was one of them that went into the little pen. All the cows and the other calves, who were all older and a lot bigger than me, had to go into the little pen.
And I did as my mother said and made no noise at all and did not leave my hidey hole and pretty soon I was very sleepy again and I dozed off. It was the quiet that finally woke me. It was very quiet. Sometimes quiet is good and sometimes quiet is very scary and this was a very scary quiet. There was no other sound around me. I could no longer hear the rumble-rumble of my mother's stomach. I could hear no munching of the other cows or the sound of their drinking at the water's edge. I heard nothing. And it was very scary but I did as my mother had told me and lay very still. Night was falling and my tummy was feeling cold and empty. I expected my mother to come back to the pond dam, swinging my surprise beneath her. But she did not come. And I began to cry. I'm sorry, but I couldn't help it. It was time for my surprise and my tummy hurt and I did not want to be alone. I called for my mother and asked her please to come back but she did not come.
All night I waited but she did not come. The deer came again to stand at the top of the dam and in the morning the turkey mothers and their chicks passed my hidey hole and in the afternoon the dogs came. I was afraid of the dogs without my mother there to watch and I lay very still hoping they would not see me. Surely my mother would come by night. But she did not and again I cried and called for her but she did not come and my tummy was hurting. It hurt so bad I left my hidey hole and went in the moonlight to the pond's edge and sniffed the wetness and drank. It was not good like my mother's goodness but it helped the hurting in my tummy. I went back and lay down to wait some more and when morning came I was too tired to cry very hard or call very loud but I did call one more time. Surely she would come this morning but she did not come.
And then I heard sounds but not my mother's sounds so I did not leave my place. And when I turned my head one of the strange creatures was standing not very far away. She talked softly, not hollering like the other creatures when they made my mother go in the pen, but she moved closer and closer until I finally jumped to my feet and she turned and walked away.
And it was very quiet again. And my tummy really hurt. Not long after that the creature came back and another creature with her and they both talked very quietly but moved closer and closer and she did not walk away when I jumped up so I panicked and ran and ran as fast as I could toward the tall trees across the meadow at the bottom of the dam. And because of their poor front legs, I suppose, they did not try to follow me.
It was hot in the tall trees and pretty soon another creature was there talking to me and he began to sing and hum and he kept singing and humming and the sound was so interesting that he was very close to me before I even noticed. In fact he had touched my head and back and neck with his front legs! And I jumped to my feet. But he neither walked away or came toward me but moved slowly to the side and I moved away from him and kept moving trying very hard not to panic and before I knew it I was in a place where I couldn't go any farther. I was in the little pen!
And then he walked away but returned with the other creature and they followed me on either side into a corner and grabbed me and the bigger creature lifted me up and I believed for the first time that there was nothing wrong with their front legs. And he put me in a big, hard box and the box moved.
Then I was lifted again and carried to a place I know my mother would have liked. There was sweet grass and the light was dim and no scary thing was around.
And then one of the creatures came back and she had a square thing attached to her front legs that she stuck in my mouth and after I bit it a couple of times I realized! It was another surprise!
But this creature didn't really know much about it and she made it much harder than it ought to be and I had to work very hard to get anything from the square box and there was really no reason to make it that hard! My mother had made it very easy, the surprise just came out, but this was very hard. I lost patience and banged at it and butted it and one time I banged it so hard it came off of the creature and flew into a corner. Then we had to start all over again. But finally we worked it out and my tummy was full and warm again and I was very sleepy and I dropped into the sweet grass and went to sleep.
And here I am.