Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Calf Update

I'm sorry to report that the little calf didn't make it.

After attempting to feed the little bugger for hours upon hours, we knew it wasn't going to end well. The vet had already been consulted, the little guy had already not responded well to treatments. Something was just plain wrong.

The next morning Rob and I arrived to find him barely alive, gasping, tongue hanging out. But his tail wagged when I approached and petted him. Feeling like I had to at least try something I went to the house to make a small bottle. When I returned a few moments later, he took his last breath.

It was like he waited all night for us to return so he wouldn't die alone.

It was awful. No mother should witness a babe - of any species - die. It was heart-wrenching. I sat with him a while. Rob waited quietly, patiently. He called my sister, the real farmer. I couldn't talk.

We decided to bury him down in the farm's stone quarry, and we got the tractor and set to work. I didn't bring my camera - that just wouldn't be right - but it was something to see the other cows and calves gather round and watch. There were several times Rob couldn't even move the tractor because the cows wouldn't move out of the way.

There was nothing to be done for that little guy. As
Caren said, something was just wrong, and he knew it. It didn't make it any easier to lose him, but at least he wasn't alone.

The cows on our farm aren't just products - they're live beings, treated with love and care. They're used to people, and they're used to wide-open spaces and sunshine and organic grasses. And their well-being isn't taken lightly around here.

These days I understand a little more about why
farmers are a crusty lot. It's not always a walk in the park, this farmin' business, and that's coming from me, not even a real farmer, but the occasional poser fill-in. I know my sister and her husband carry a lot of weight on their shoulders, muddling through these early years, learning. Just thought you should know that.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Willow Weekend

This year's Willow was wonderful as usual, but a bit subdued. I didn't take nearly as many pictures, and I'm sure there are a few folks who were relieved at that. I didn't even get photos of our friends performing, as I was busy taking video for a friend. Taylor, I'm sorry I sang along into the video recording - I was taken by the moment. Am I off-key? How's my vibrato? Can you hear the group over my singing? I'd be happy to handle all the recording for next year, too. Taylor? Taylor? Taylor?

Gemma was back this year, and with her came these two cute little punks.

Doug learning how to carve a bird from the chef.

The spread of food was amazing as always. I swore Sunday evening I wouldn't have to eat for a week. It was Monday evening before I even felt hunger again.

This year we didn't tent camp - we got a bed. Woot! Thanks Duffords! Your B&B service is the best.

Dan gave us the garden tour.

Dan playing the shofar, which David Stocker brought back from his trip to Palestine.

A new game inspired by the young 20-somethings set.

The labyrinth mowed into the yard, a new addition. I never even walked it! Hard to meditate when surrounded by revelry.

Our teens were happy to be together again.

View from the amazing porch.

Ashley, Gemma and I filled tamales....
made by the Willow kitchen goddess, Joanieji.

And as usual, the requisite "we can't believe you didn't come home for Willow, see what you're missing?" photo to send to our faraway friends.
Ah, Willow....