A couple months ago, I saw a promoted Facebook ad for Heart 2 Heart Farms. The ad stated that for 5 hours of volunteer work, one could go home with a newborn Jersey calf.
Hook, line, & sinker, friends.
5 hours? That’s nothing! Heck, me & hubs could both go and come home with two! So, we emailed for volunteer paperwork, sent it back, and waited to hear when they could use us. Unfortunately, most of the times they needed help, one of us was working. You could buy a calf for $50, but I just never got around to it. Life, you know?
Fast forward to the Monday before Thanksgiving, I noticed they had a “Black Friday” sale on their cows. $25 bucks for a calf! That’s crazy!! So, I did what any rational wife would do….. Called my husband, and asked him if he loved me enough to let me bring a baby cow home. It could be my Christmas gift! He told me I was insane. I told him he knew that when he married me. He asked my mom why I wasn’t like normal girls, wanting jewelry for Christmas… she said “I don’t know, she’s her fathers daughter”. He ended up saying yes. I had to work, so we set pickup for Thursday. My cow was born that same Monday, so I would be picking up a 3 day old calf. This was good, considering the first 24 hours of life are pretty crucial to survival. I was glad he was going to spend that time with experienced hands.
Thursday/Thanksgiving comes, and true to PNW form, it’s DUMPING rain. I drove all the way to Sherwood (roughly 75 minutes) on a wing and a prayer. I couldn’t see the road. Could barely follow the vehicle in front of me. Arrived at the farm, and it’s located on a steep hill. They had bulldozed sections of it to build small barns to house the animals. Anyway, I pulled up, parked on the muddy hill, threw my E brake on, and followed the farm hand to the baby cows. You guys…. How I didn’t load up 10 calves that day is still beyond me. We made our way to mine, and I climbed into his stall to check him out. Gums looked good, he suckled my thumb, he could stand steadily, etc. All the things I researched about sickly calves made him look in pretty good shape. So, I laid out the tarp in my SUV, loaded him up, and off we went! Sort of. Half mile down the road he started peeing. It was like he had the damn Nile River up in his bladder! Stopped the car, took him out, took the tarp out, poured off the pee, threw a towel in there, and put him back in the car. He then awkwardly climbed towards the front of the car, rested his head on the middle console, and stayed there the majority of the trip with my hand on his head. The drive back home was equally terrifying, the rain didn’t let up once. I don’t think I took an easy breath until I pulled into the driveway.
So, we get home, hubs comes out and all he sees is this gross looking calf, covered in mud/feces, and soaked with rain. Asked me what the plan was. I told him I was going to take him inside and bathe him. Told me I had lost my mind, picked up the cow, and brought him upstairs for me. Have I mentioned how much I love him? Anyway, I get the bath going, put the cow in the bath, and start scrubbing him down with dog shampoo. Hey, it worked! He pooped in the tub, like any newborn taking a warm bath would do 😉 We got him out, dried him with like 20 towels, and hubs carried him back outside for me. We got him all settled into the fluffy pine shavings, showed him where the water was, and watched. The goats were terrified of their larger new friend. He laid down, and I went to go clean the gross bathtub with all the bleach we had in the house. We had Thanksgiving dinner at a friends house that night, so his first bottle happened before we left. He took it like a champ! Before long, he was following the goats all over the yard, nudging me for food, and trying to make friends with the dogs. They were NOT receptive. The goal was to not name him, since I’m very against naming our food sources, but… he’s a cow. He’s large. I was going to have to get him to walk places for me, so he needed a name. In slightly sick sense of humor, we named him Chuck. You know… like chuck roast. My mom wanted to call him Filet, so that’s his middle name. Chuck Filet Carrigan will become our source of meat next fall, after living a happy life here on the farm. Some may find it cruel, but I’m glad knowing our food source came from a clean environment, and that he was able to get out & run around like animals should. I could get on a soap box about factory farming, but I will avoid that for now. So, if you follow me on Instagram, you get cute cow photos. If you don’t love cow photos, we can’t be friends.