Farming is a roller coaster. There are beautiful highs and then there are the struggles that are just part of the job.
My favorite beef cow, Emily was found dead this morning. We are not sure what happened. Mike just called and told me.
When Mike and I were dating, Emily was born. She was a twin and her mother accepted the bull calf but would not accept her. I begged Mike to catch her for me and let me bottle feed her. That was such a funny day watching him run around the field chasing the little black calf. Mike is incredibly fast (he still plays basektball twice a week in spite of being closer to 50 than 40) and it was all he could do to catch her! Finally, he got her and jumped on the back of the truck with her. He asked me to drive and I did. I was busy watching him and the calf in the back of the truck..........Mike sitting on the edge of the truck and the calf between his legs while he bottle fed it as I drove across the field. I was in love with Mike and the calf and couldn't keep my eyes off of them! Next thing I knew, I hit a big rock and as the truck bounced over, Mike and the calf went flying through the air. In the rear view mirror I saw the bottle in an arc flying through the air, then the calf, then Mike! I stopped and found the calf running across the field and Mike on the ground looking at me and I just started laughing and could not stop.
That's actually when I knew Mike really loved me. He didn't get mad but got up and chased the calf down again and we took her to the house and fed her.
At that time, I was working with a handicapped young man who was in a wheel chair. He loved to hear my stories of the farm and when I told him about the calf, he wanted to know what I had named her. I told him that I wanted him to name her, and he named her Emily.
Mike explained to me what a freemartin is and that Emily would more than likely never be fertile. He told me that she would end up being beef. I just didn't say anything. Eventually, he gave Emily to me and he knew that she would simply live out her life on the farm because she was my girl.
We had her at the farm house and everyone who came to buy produce would pet her and play with her. Finally, when she was big enough to wean, we put her out to pasture with the other cows. Mike mentioned several times that we should take her to the stock yards, but I always talked him out of it. "Maybe she's not a freemartin", I would say.
I remember the day that Mike was working cattle and was running them through the chute. It was Emily's turn. Mike called me over and showed me how to bump a calf because Emily was pregnant! I did a happy dance right there! Literally! All the guys were shaking their heads as I squealed in delight! It was the coolest thing to bump Emily's calf.
Emily ended up due in January and every night for three weeks before she calved I had Mike get up and drive down to the farm to check on her. The last week, he checked several times a night. He knew that we could not let anything happen to Emily because she was my girl.
Early one January morning, Emily gave birth without incident to a beautiful little heifer calf. I named her Lil E and called her "Lilly".
Emily was heavy bred with her second calf when we found her this morning. She was a good girl and my miracle cow. I will miss her.
Emily and Lilly