Steve had been over in England for three weeks when we got an email from our housesitter Ove. Tansy, our cow, had given birth early that morning to a little white calf. We were both surprised and shocked as we didn’t even know she was pregnant, and indeed thought she was still a virgin. I know, how many other parents have said that. I rang Ove for more details. He likes to sight Tansy and Blackberry at least once a day, but on the day before the email, he couldn’t find Tansy. The next morning, he was out for a walk with a friend and there she was, in the middle of the drive, with a little white calf. They both looked very well, so Tansy is obviously a very good mum, giving birth all by herself, and cleaning and feeding the little one. We assured Ove that we had no idea she was pregnant, and he had just thought she looked a healthy well fed cow. We would have been aware if there had been a rampaging bull loose around the property, and there were just steers next door. We googled the gestation period for cows which, for those quiz buffs amongst us, is 275 days, and realisation dawned.
Going back 275 days…..
We had four cows and not enough pasture. The oldest cow got sick and we had to have her put down. That left three cows and still not enough pasture. Rosie and the guest cow who had wandered in off the road (subsequently given to us by the owner) are extremely greedy and bolshy with it and trying to ensure that all four cows got something to eat during winter feeding, has been a nightmare. They both have horns, which made the whole exercise pretty scary at times. So Steve and I had decided to let the two with horns go onto a different home. So, we asked Michael, a helpful farmer nearby, for advice and he offered to sell on the two cows for us, buy a weaner to keep Tansy company, and to overwinter them all at his place, where he had lots of grazing. It would give our grass a chance to recover. So Tansy went off on holiday for a couple of months, and returned, with friend Blackberry, and it is now apparent, a much wider experience of the world, than we would have liked! We will have to have a word with Michael when we get back to NZ!