The 3rd day we lived on the farm there was a cow here, from the previous owners, that was having twins. The vet was called because of the twins and sadly it is common for the female of the twins to be stillborn. It was true in this case but the male was healthy. Much to my chagrin the normal process for the male was to send him to be processed (he was a Holstein breed and as we now know that is primarily for milk, not meat. He wouldn’t produce enough meat to be considered worth raising). Of course that wasn’t acceptable so we asked if we could have him and they agreed. However, he would be sad to be alone so we were given another day- old calf from the neighbor (he would have gone to processing also. Not the neighbor, the calf).

The neighbor showed us how to feed the calves and care for them. It was easy and for the next 8 months we had so much fun with those little guys. We named them Spot and Sparky and all the visitors could bottle feed them. The kids loved it and the calves would follow us around on tours just like those now pesky goats.

One Sunday about 6 months in, we were graced with a visit from Albert Straus of Straus Family Creamery. After the tour, Albert introduced himself, was kind enough to compliment our efforts. He then pulled me aside and said…”Tara, the calves are great but you do realize they are bulls, right?” “Yes” I replied looking all innocent…because I WAS. “Well”, he replied “they will want to “mount” something pretty quick here (I think I understood what he meant) and you don’t want it to be one of your guests. Probably after the 6 month point you should keep them in a fenced area verses going on tours with you and you can still allow the kids to bottle feed them” (at this age the calves were only getting water but they loved it and the kids did too).

He was right. Several days later the cattle were mounting each other and frankly, while it was an eye raiser, I could see his point. So, into the pasture, behind a fence and sadly no more calves on tour.

Then we got the baby goats. They are still fun to take on tour, safe with the kids albeit not safe for the grape vines or any other plant we want to keep. Still, we missed those little calves.

Guess what…we have a little calf and will have 2 by next week that we can take on tour again. One of the mama cows had a little brown male and for some reason she was not interested in raising him. So we began bottle feeding today. He is soooo cute. We need a name. Send in your ideas and next week we will pick and post to the newsletter.

More importantly, we invite you to come visit and feed them yourselves. Not to mention all the baby piglets and chicks…ducks on the pond and of course Roland the protector (sadly, and those of you that know him understand, he does need valium).

P.S. Just an FYI…I don’t want you to own any problems we have. It is not yours to deal with, but I do want you to know what we deal with in order for you to understand what farming is about, and when we are not willing to cut corners to make the bills. Eggs and chicken. We are short on eggs again. 600+ laying chickens was not enough and we are growing more and adding from other organic flocks that want to sell. Meat chickens are another matter. We upped the baby chick quantity from 400 to 500 every 2 weeks. That will handle growth for the next several months however we do have a shortage outside of membership. Membership has its privileges and this is one of the times your membership pays off.

Thanks for supporting us in our efforts. We know you want our success as much as we do.

Come visit, Mooooo…Your Farmer,
Tara Smith