Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Gifts

There are some Christmas' which are meant to be remembered. This is one of them. I am on the receiving end of some wonderful gifts.

The first gift is Claudia Broman who contacted me to do an article on our family for the Catholic Herold ( She has been such a blessing, not only did she write the Herald article, she also wrote one for the Ashland Daily Press ( Then she helped us complete our website and set us up in the "social media". Claudia has done all this with a gentle grace, eagerness and generosity that we can never thank her enough for.

Then came the
Fr. Conan Mitchell, OFM Council 832 of the Knights of Columbus, who recognized our family with the award mentioned in the Catholic Herald article. This was a surprise to us and we are humbled by it. May God bless the Knights for their thoughtfulness and kind thoughts of us.

Third: My eldest son volunteer to say behind and tend the farm
so the rest of the family (minus Jeff, who is out on the Great Lakes) could go to Grandma's for Christmas (I am so proud of him for this). On the night of 12/23/09 we left for MN in the middle of the night to avoid nasty weather, and all went well. We had an excellent visit with "the family".

Fourth: Then sometime between Christmas eve and Christmas day our sow "Opel" gave birth to 11 piglets. (The few who had issues, have passed, but the ones who remain are robust.) All my son had to do was count them and clean up her "nest" after the nights events. He was very thankful for that.

Fifth: We all made it home safely from Grandma's and then Michael went to Grandma's.

Sixth: Tonight another blessing appeared. Duchess, our Red Poll heifer, became a cow with the arrival of a huge heifer calf. Duchess is a bit skid-dish, but handled the whole experience calmly and without visible distress. Despite the calf being large and appearing to barely make it out. Back on her feet after the birth, she is showing herself to be an excellent and protective mother. (A bit loud in the kazooing* department though.)

*Kazooing is the soft "kazoo" like sound a cow makes to keep track of or communicate with her calf. As soon as the calf is born she will softly "Kazoo" in it's ear over and over again to imprint on it the mothers voice and call. Later when she wants to check up on her calf she "Kazoo's" and the calf will answer. It is how she calls her calf to nurse, come to her or in general fuss over her baby.

Duchess' idea of Kazooing is a full blown, from the gut, moo. (Nerves I guess). I will not be surprised if this calf has some form of hearing loss. Duchess would nussel in the calf's ear then let out this full voice moo that we could feel though our feet. The calf didn't even bat an eye. Just laid there being licked and Kazooed (bellowed) at. Duchess then tried to eat a few chicken who dared to perch and look to closely at her new baby. Those Chickens are scary things to a new cow=).

As I closed up the barn, the chickens did figured out roosting near a new momma cow was not the thing to do. The calf learned (with much tail wagging) that nursing is the thing to do. And our new momma, Duchess; finally realized that if she just stood still her (beautiful) calf would nurse. Instead of, chasing each other around in circles as Duchess tried to get her calf on the teat.

By lights out, Cow and Calf are settled down and sleeping (or chewing her cud) respectfully. The chickens are
roosting somewhere else, out of reach of the cow. The moon, in its heaven, is full and brilliant. My house is warm. My children are all safe. There is contentment in my heart and I am deeply grateful. God is good and all is well in my neighborhood. Thus, I mark this Christmas for the treasures laid before me and I will savor it.

With a smile on my lips and peace in my soul I bid you and yours a very good night and a very Happy New Year. I hope your Christmas was as blessed as mine.


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