About Me

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I'm a mother of four grandmother of seven and great grandmother of three. I live with my husband in the house that we built with the help of my brothers and will have been married for 57 years this February.

Friday, November 4, 2011


What a couple of days this has been. I was going to post about it last night but had to go to bed instead.

Yesterday afternoon I was stuck at home because we were having a security system installed because of several burglaries in plain daylight just up the street from us. For two days the worker was drilling holes and placing motion detectors at all the key points in the house. I use this time to work around the house and do laundry etc. We had him over for lunch as he's an old school friend of my husband.

The Alarm people were scheduled to come to give us a dry run on the system at 2:30 pm yesterday  but they called and cancelled because of an emergency at work.  Apparently someone was drilling to install a wire on another job and drilled through a main water pipe.

When my husband's friend left, I had everything done and thought of getting an early start on my barn chores so that I would have time to be on Blogger and work on my quilt. I had a 50 minutes head-start...  but it didn't worked out that way.

 When I arrived at the barn  the hired hand had moved the big calves out and cleaned and put fresh bedding in the large pen and I help him round up all those stubborn big calves back into the big pen.  I asked him to move two calves from the small pens  and to remove the soil bedding so that I could scrub and sanitize them for new calves we were expecting.

Not a very good picture taken from above the calf pen. The calf jackets were way too big for them so I had to use old blankets to keep them warm. They are all easy to identify I'll take some better picture of them later on. The one with the white on her back was born last and eats less than the other two.

A few minutes later I got a call from my son  Vaughan telling me that a truck driver who was bringing gravel to the farm had seen a small calf in the field. My husband and I took a wheelbarrow to the field to get this wet shivering little calf in the barn. He pulled the wheelbarrow through the muddy pasture and I kept the calf from jumping down.  I put lots of fresh bedding in the big calving pen while my husband found the mother and brought her in so that she would lick her cold calf but instead she missed stepping and crushing her tiny little leg by half an inch. I quickly pulled her out of the way but kept an eye on her. The mother gave her a couple of licks and laid down. My husband went back to his gravel job.

I gave her hay, warm water and some grain and shortly after I saw a big water sack with a little hoof inside. The hoof went back in and I called my son and he came over. He broke the water  sack and he thought that he could feel another set of hooves inside. He pulled it out and it came out very easy and I took care of the slimy little calf as it wasn't breathing. It's amazing how much mucus there is in their mouth and nostrils.  They are very difficult to hold upside down to drain the fluid out of their lungs because of the slippery mucus. I used my hand and some paper towels to help get the mucus out of the mouth and nostrils.

My son pulled out the other one and they were all females. He looked after the mother  and treated her while I took care of the third baby. This is our first set of triplets ever on this farm. All three calves were in the pen with her and again she just missed by a hair of crushing  all three of them this time. So we quickly removed them out of the calving pen as it was obvious that she wasn't interested in licking them clean and we put them in an empty small calf pen that wasn't too soiled, with fresh bedding and warm blankets. They were all shivering as they were soaked to the bones and all slimy.  They were so light that I could carry one of them in my arms to the pen.  I had her in a blanket to carry her. The mother was brought to the milk parlor and then I fed the triplets.

I had been caring for the twins that was born the day before but they were big for twins. Their mother couldn't get up as her legs got paralyzed and she had been down since last Thursday.

My husband and I got home from the barn at 8:00pm for supper and went back to the barn at 9:00 pm to euthanize the poor cow as we did all we possibly could for her and so did the vet.

I went to check on the other mother cow, the one with the triplets.  Again we thought that she might have another calf as another big water sack came out. My husband broke the water sack but there was nothing detected inside.

 Life and death is something that we have to deal with on the farm. It's never pleasant. I said a prayer of thanks for all the  gifts that she gave us and the joy that she brought us and prayed to God to deliver her from her pain and suffering. Animals show feelings and I have witnessed this so many time while I've been working on the farm. She went so quick and peacefully but it still breaks my heart. The other mother cow showed some distress as she was in the pen next to the sick cow. She grown a mourning grown and she looked at me and then at the cow who had breathed her last and she looked back at me and again at her friend and it was evident that she was mourning her passing.

Whenever a cow has to be put down on the farm, which is not very often, thanks goodness, other cows will react with a sadness. They have feelings.

Now here I am with 5 new babies to care for and only one cow to provide first milk with colestrum and tonight she was weak with milk fever so she couldn't be milked. I had to use ordinary cow milk to feed them. I scrubbed pens and pails and gates and moved two of the triplets in another pen because it's nearly impossible to feed them when they are all together. They are in constant motion.   I have a spare pen for the other calf that will be born any time now (No more twins I hope).  I got home at 8:00 PM for supper again this evening. I'm all sore and tired.

I'll try to catch up on your blogs as soon as I can.  No quilting for me again tonight. I'm tired but not tired enough  to forget to pray for all my sick blogger friends and their families and for those who have asked for prayers for healing.

Sorry for the long post. Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment.  JB


  1. Julia,
    Those baby triplets are adorable! You sure go through some trying times and hard losses with your cattle. Having grown up on a farm I know what you are going through. Your animals surely know that they have good caring humans who are watching over them. I'm so sorry that the mother didn't make it.
    You take care of yourself too and know that my prayers and thoughts are going out to you as well. The wool I won in your give-away is sitting on my dining room table. I think of you each time I look at it my friend!
    Cathy G

  2. many blessings to you julia for your work on the farm and your tenderness.

  3. Triplets!!!
    It's never a dull day on the farm. :)

  4. Oh my gosh what a time you had. So sorry you lost the mama to the twins. Life and death on the farm is never easy. Bless you for all your hard work.

  5. I can't believe all this work you are doing, Julia. Just how many pregnant cows do you have on that farm of yours? I feel so sorry for those poor shivering little calves. It would be REALLY hard for me to experience seeing a cow put down. That truly must have been a terrible time for you. I was interested to know that the cow next door sorta knew what was happening and was mourning. I am so interested in that farm of yours. What do you do with all the calves you raise and just how many cows do you have?

    I hope your suggestiion for this comment to actually reach you blog works. Here goes

  6. Hallelujah!! It worked. I just forgot to sigh my name


  7. I'm always riveted to these stories about the farm. You are a great storyteller. You have the makings of a wonderful book in all of these posts! I was touched and saddened to read about the grieving cow. I'm awed by all the different skills and strengths, both emotionally and physically, you need to run a farm. You are truly amazing. Keep the long posts's great to have you back!

  8. wow ... farm life keeps you on your toes... never a dull moment, but I'm sure you would enjoy a little down time. Thank goodness you were around for the baby calves!

  9. Wow that is quite a story, I don't think in all of the years we had cows, did we ever have triplets. That is something. I don't think anyone unless you have stood and watched the vet put a large animal down how painful it it. It just hurts to see it and it is never easy.
    But you got a bunch of calves. How is it with it with triplets, will they be like the twins. The heifer can't reproduce but are all of the triplets heifers?
    It is never dull is it?
    I enjoyed your post.

  10. Oh my goodness Lisa - what a life you lead there on the farm! Triplets and twins! My you will have your hands full! thanks for the pics! Joanne

  11. Oh Julia, you are amazing. I hope the babies get stronger quickly. Sad about the twins mama. Sometimes blessings and sorrow go hand in hand.

  12. Cheri Back to larkriseNovember 5, 2011 at 5:02 PM

    Julia,The way you express yourself writing about real life farming and animals reminds me of author James Herriot all creatures great and small. So many things that happen on a farm that are the ups and downs of life and death. I too think animals have feelings. Hugs to you for being such a good steward for the animals that are in your care.Cheri

  13. I can't imagine having to deal with emergencies on a daily basis. Farm life would not be for me! You have my greatest respect for the work you do and your ability to maintain a caring attitude toward your animals.
    Good luck to the little ones. With your excellent mothering, I know they will thrive.

  14. I am so fascinated by all your cow tales!! You spoke of the cows always in motion, it seems to me that YOU are always in motion!! You are a gem and seeing that cows have feelings too makes me just love you!! I have know other farmers who have said that they do not and are not their friend and they have no problem eating them etc. I know this is realistic but that's why I admire you so much.
    Then you come in from a hard day like this and garden, quilt and hook!! You are WONDER woman!!!

  15. Wow! Triplets! I hope that the surviving mama cow gets better soon. The first milk is so important fo the babies.

  16. Oh my word Julia ,triples! they are so sweet ....great picture of them are a busy lady... when do you get time to rest...

  17. Julia ~
    There's never a dull moment for you, is there? I grew up on a very small farm and am now a city girl. I think I prefer it this! Good luck caring for all the babies.
    Pug hugs :)

  18. A tiring day filled with joy and sadness. All animals have feelings and they care. I really enjoyed this post. Hope you got some are going to need it taking care of all those babes. Hugs

  19. What an interesting post! We "city folk" just have no idea of all that is involved in farm life. It sounds like you have your hands full, but I can tell your heart is full of love too.
    I hope the coming week is a bit calmer for you :)

  20. Oh my goodness! What an amazing adventure. Triplets. That is pretty rare.
    We had dairy cows for a few years. SO much work.
    Baby calves are so cute, but that is a ton of work ahead to keep them fed.

    Sounds like you are a good "mom".

    Hope you get to do some quilting.........sometime soon anyway.

  21. Hello Super woman! Triplets.Wow.What can I say?Wishing I could be closer and of some help to you at the barn.I am such a wuss that I am afraid of most animals,I probably would be hampering your work lol.God loves and bless you,hugs and kisses.

  22. Hi Julia, Enjoy reading your blog. You are an amazing lady! Thanks for sharing with us. Kathy

  23. You don't see triplets often! Congratulations!

  24. Julia, I do not KNOW how you have time to come and visit other blogs..your life is so FULL and busy and important.
    Yes, animals are wonderful, marvelous, intuitive creatures...ELEPHANTS are known for how long they can remember other elephants and people they had been around in their lives...
    ( good or bad ) they are some great stories about them being apart for years after being in different circus's and such...and then meeting agian after many, many years..and grieving over the loss of a departed one.
    So I can completely understand.
    We had an aunt who lived on a farm for many years, and when her husband died, she sold the farm..but had her "favorite" old pet cow, horse and goat put down, as she knew no one else would treat them like she did...very brave of her I thought.
    As she moved to an apartment in the city after that.
    Hope the one mama cow can provide whatever is needed for all those babies.

  25. Julia
    You are so..blessed to live on a farm and being able to spend your days working there. But, oh,
    there is a lot of hard work and heartache too, I can see.
    We all love hearing from each other, but also understand when circumstances don't allow us to blog too.
    Take care and get rested-Kimberly

  26. The triplets are too cute! Can't wait to see a picture of them with their thrift store blankets on them!