One of the great things about living in the country is the way neighbors give to one another. If someone is tearing down an old building, they usually call someone and say, "Hey, I've got [an old door, window, roofing etc] do you need it?"
Or maybe it's, "Hey, I've got extra [tomatoes, cucumbers, pumpkins etc], do you want them?" Price tags are never attached. Its just a gift from the goodness of their hearts for neighbors who could use and appreciate the items.
This is what happened to me last week. I answered the phone to hear one of my neighbors, whom I also attend church with, say, "Hey, you want a bottle calf? I've already raised nine this year and I just don't have time for another one."
Needless to say I was thrilled, so they brought him right over. I named him "Blackjack," and he settled down in the yard with Beau and Huck.
Then the unexpected happened. A sudden thunderstorm blew in and there was my new baby out in a storm.
Now, I grew up on a dairy farm, and I know cows are used to all kinds of weather, but Blackjack was just six hours old and an orphan and his new buddy Beau was having a fit to come in out of the rain.
So on went the rain gear and boots and out I went to rescue my calf. I got him up and managed to lift him onto the porch and pushed him into the house.
After drying him off with the towel I keep for the dogs, he stood for a while looking out at the rain. Then he wandered around the living room a bit.
Since he was getting restless, I decided to try a trick I've used on other nervous animals. I turned on my Bose Wave Stereo.
When the music started, Blackjack cautiously moved closer and just stared at it for about ten minutes. Then suddenly he lay down in front of the stereo cabinet and gave a great sigh.
And there he stayed until Greg came home. I think he rather enjoyed the jazz music mixed with some Mannheim Steamroller.
By the time Greg got home, the storm was over and we walked our new addition up to the barn.
Last weekend, I separated the lambs from the ewes so Blackjack has plenty of company in the barn lot. We put him in a stall, gave him pro-bias, some dextrose, and a B-12 shot.
It took some time to get him to take a bottle, but Greg is really good at that sort of thing. By the next evening, Blackjack knew where his milk came from, and now expects a drink every time he sees Greg.
Living in the country gives one all sorts of reasons to be thankful. Fresh air, good food, beautiful scenery, and kind and generous neighbors.
Photos property of Leah McAllister.