Sometimes, I wear Stuart's boxer briefs to bed. Yes, it's true. And on this stagnant and sweaty summer night, they seemed the perfect pajama. So I tucked in, briefs and t-shirt.
Earlier that night, approximately 2,192 times, I'd made the trek down to the shop (we live on a gigantic hill… practically anywhere you walk is uphill) to stare at Sal.
I'd stared at her udder.
Stared at her girly parts.
Stared into her ligaments.
And, for the first time, I'd noticed significant change. The ligaments had dropped, just like Ashley said they would. And even though I could feel the teeniest trace of them, they'd sunken down into her hips.
Her udder was gigantic and was wedged like a suitcase between her hind legs.
It was 106 degrees and there was a fire raging in our town, consuming warehouses, homes, and hillsides. The air was filled with thick smoke. Conditions were nasty.
After staring at her, praying that the calf was healthy and would arrive shortly, I walked slowly and pouted all the way back to the house in my boxer briefs. Guess it wasn't time. Boo. BOO. BOOOOO.
(See? I told you I was pouting.)
A few minutes into a new food documentary, I drifted off for a few hours, waiting for the interruptive marimba song to play on my phone, waking me from my (super important) slumber and reminding me once again to go stare at my cow's vulva.
Which I did.
Electric lantern in hand, I staggered down to the barn. This time, I made Stu accompany me because, let's just face facts here, I'm terrified of the dark. And of the cougars and coyotes that like to roam around in it. But let's not focus on that… it gives me the heebie-jeebies.
Sal greeted me at the gate, lovingly nuzzled me, and gazed widely at my face. At night, she sees incredibly poorly and always opens her eyes super wide to see better. Her facial expression be like “OHHH HEEEEEEY SSHHHAYEE! THERE YOU ARE! HERE TO STARE AT MY GOODS? HHHIIIII!!!!” It makes me laugh.
But alas, no calf. Same vulva. Same udder. Same ligaments.
I tried to sleep, but found myself in a mental circus instead. My mind was reeling over the calf and over the wildfires. And over how dang comfortable boxer briefs are.
I gave into the circus at 4:50 and just got out of bed. What was the point of being in there if I wasn't going to be sleeping, anyway? There wasn't one. That was a rhetorical question. Try and keep up.
It was light, so I trudged down to see my girl. From a few yards away I could hear a funky moo. When you have a cow, you know all of her varieties of moo. This one was funky. Labor!
I peeked into her shelter and saw bag of liquid hanging from her backside. Could it be?! Was this happening?! I won't tell you the expletive of surprise that slipped from my lips.
“Alright, Sal! You can do this Mama! I know it hurts but it'll be over soon!”
Sal gazed over her shoulder at me, mooed loudly, and put her head back down. She started to fidget and shift around in her shelter. Not wanting to mess with her juju, I stood just peeking into the shelter for a few minutes while cheerleading her from sidelines. She wasn't impressed.
After she calmed down a bit, I thought I'd sneak into the shelter for a few pictures (See? I was thinking about you, my readers!) so I shifted half of my body into the entrance so I could now see the entire inside of the shelter in my frame.
…and wouldn't ya know it.
There, curled up in the corner in the straw, was a beautiful calf.
The color of caramel with the eyelashes of an angel. And by the way, a pair of testicles too.
Taking note that I'd seen her calf, Sal paced over to him and began to once again lick him all over. He was still wet and drowsy. She nuzzled his little black nose.
And even though I only missed the birth by probably ten minutes, I was elated. Sad I missed the filming of the birth, but elated none-the-less. My prayer over all else was that she would deliver a healthy calf, free of complications. And boy, did she!
She was obviously still high-strung after the birth, so I let them be. Toby came in to investigate the new arrival, only to be viciously driven out by a protective (and incredibly large) Mama. Ever seen a cow run? They're actually incredibly fast. Just ask the dog.
I'd like to say that my zillions of trips down to the barn have somewhat stopped, but it's far from the truth! Because whenever I get stressed, or happy, or sad, or excited, or nervous, or overwhelmed, or sleepy, or hungry… I just go and stare at this beautiful little guy. The kids will line up on the fence, kick their feet, argue over who gets to sit closest to Sal, and watch. Observe. Ask questions. Witnessing this all is incredible and a life that I'm so thankful to be able to share with my children.
Oh, and by the way, we named him Lyle.
Lyle will remain with us here on the farm as a steer. That is, his testicles shall be removed and he shall grow up right alongside his Mama. I love that she has a companion now.
And you know what else I love?
MILK. GLORIOUS, MILK.
Did I mention milk?