Bella and Holly – A Bovine Love Story
Recently we sent our second Jersey cow, Bella, to our friend’s farm to get acquainted with their bull Barney. In order to avoid any gaps in our milk supply, we calculated that is high time we had Bella “bred back.” She was showing signs of entering heat, so we hauled her down the road to have a romantic rendezvous…shall we say. As she went down the driveway, oddly enough, Holly ran along behind her mooing the entire distance to the gate. Bella looked uncertain about her new travel plans, spinning around in circles in the trailer and I felt a pang of sadness at how they depend on us and must do what they are told, even if it isn’t their choice. Toughen up, I thought.
Holly moped around and mooed for the whole five days Bella was gone. I was shocked. We had recently taken her calf Bullwinkle to the same farm, and she hadn’t batted an eye as he was put on the trailer and taken away. She appeared disinterested and went right on grazing as if she understood it was time for him to move on. I sure didn’t. I felt horrible about it. I was in the middle of a cheese making class however, when Rick made the executive decision to skip making a pen for the calf and just take him down the road to be weaned from Holly. I watched from the window as he was loaded up, my eyes filled up with tears, but I knew I had this class to teach and it wouldn’t do to bust out crying in front of the students. There was a job at hand and I was going to do it! I’d worry about Bullwinkle later. And worry, I would, as he is a stubborn little fella, and somewhat spoiled with ten acres undivided, and Momma, all to himself. He would spend the next three to four days, crying himself hoarse. It was frankly, heart wrenching. Worse yet, my best friend had to listen to it and she did all the hard work of getting him to take a bottle. She literally had to jump on him, hold his head between her legs and put that bottle in his mouth and pump his jaw to get him to take the bottle. Ah, the joys of dairy cows. She got taken for a ride during the process, as did I when I attempted to feed him. So both of us can now say we’ve done some bull riding. Go ahead and picture that image…it sure does look funny when a middle-aged woman is riding a two month old bull!
Back to Bella, flash forward to yesterday, when she was brought back home and stepped off the trailer. Immediately she began to run at a fast trot, looking for Holly while mooing and carrying on. From off in the distance we heard a response of “MOOOOOO!” from Holly and our son reported that he could see her running from the back of the pasture. The scene was truly priceless. Bella, our crusty and less-than-affectionate tough gal, was elated to see Holly. Holly seemed relieved her best friend was finally returned to the farm. They ran to each other and touched noses and gave each other a friendly lick on the head. You could almost hear them catching up, perhaps sharing their angst about just when, if ever, they’d be together again. They put their heads together for the next few minutes, just loving on one another….things are back to normal, Bella is home.