Disclaimer: The following blog entry contains shameless bovine-love and far too many pictures of the original 'ladies of Rabbit Hill'. Turn away now -- you have been warned.
They are gone. This has been one of the longest lingering posts in my mind. Silly as it is -- a lump in my throat each and every time I sat down to write it.
Now a month later, after they have gone -- it should be easier and it is not.
We miss them. The ten 'original' ladies of Rabbit Hill--and of course -- their 'sugar-daddy'--the one male-- Ferdinand. Who apparently we miss-judged. He was much more of a 'grand amour' than we predicted--as in the end--most of the ladies were ---uhm... hmmm...well--how do you say in French...?
They all departed almost as quickly as they arrived.... It is hard to believe that we only knew them for six months. French Guy says we got "too attached". But -- truth be known--I think he had a bit of a 'thing' for them too---especially 'Sweetie'.... but more on that later.
When we moved into Rabbit Hill last Spring, we were aware of course that there would be cows. The land all around the house is rented to a farm-lady who grazes her cows here --- in order to keep the land taxes for the 19 plus acres designated as 'farm land' and make it affordable for us to live here.
Literally--one morning they just appeared. Eleven cows---10 females and 1 male. (Lucky boy!) Seriously--we looked outside--and there they were! We didn't even see the tractor and trailer that dropped them off!
Keeping in mind that we knew NOTHING about cows and nothing about cows now living 3 feet from some of our windows.
But before too long we were smitten.
Before too long we named each and every one. Bonnie, Camille, Betty, Sweetie, Maude, Daisy, Sparkle, Belle, Lucie, Maisy and of course---Ferdinand. Ferdinand the bull -- was a big lover boy-- in the true sense.
|Isn't he a handsome devil?|
Ferdinand was a giant. Larger than my Mini-Cooper with a giant, gentle heart.
My heart was immediately won by the prettiest of the group--'Bonnie'... the only one of the ladies with a white face and pink nose. She was shy at first--but was also the first of the ladies to beckon with a 'me----uh.....' every morning at the kitchen window until I popped my head out to say a 'petit-bonjour!'.
Daisy was a 'poster-girl' with perfect markings for a Normandie-vache....completely orange and white--perfect un-altered horns---bold, confident and quite friendly.
Sweetie was so named because when she initially arrived at the farm she was quite ill from a hoof-injury and infection. She was thin and limping and we called the lady-farmer more than a few times to come and check on her. In the end--she recovered beautfifully--and I bet she had a grogeous and sweet calf.
Sweet and shy. She doted on the attention from French Guy....
There were times when she couldn't even stand. We would bring her a bucket of water when she couldn't make it down to the trough. She was a sweetie, truly.
All in all our life was altered by the ladies. I do have to admit that there were days when I wished they would take a vacation at their home farm for a while---hot July days when their 'goodness' was quite apparent every time you opened a window-- and the cow flies were invading the house....
But more often than that -- we loved them-- they were a constant interest, a morning greeting, and evening 'bonsoir'...
How often we would stop everything to say a 'hello' (we were gradually teaching them English--okay--I was.)
The ladies were all two years old-- and this was their first breeding season. It was fun to watch them -- learn their personality and quirks -- and see them grow.
Even on Mother's Day-- amidst a formal lunch with French Guy's mom and my mom -- when we suddenly noticed that they had broken into the 'forbidden' pasture by the big barn -- we enjoyed the adventure of herding them back where they belonged.... and then resumed lunch...
and desert...and coffee. Life on the farm.
What I loved the most was how much 'les enfants' loved them too. Petite Fille started each day by searching them out in the field and saying "Hi Cows--Heeeey Vaches!"
|Completely ignoring the rule--Do not water the cows!|
No different than any other 'household pet' they just became part of daily life.
Even so for the 'household pets'...
After six months with them--our time was over. With most of them expecting to calf any day--and one surprise birth in the field -- the farm lady came and fetched them all without warning. The tractor pulled into the field -- they were loaded and driven away. We never got to say a proper 'adieu'...
For days later -- even now nearly a month later... we miss them. I suppose next spring there will be a whole new group of young ladies (and a bull) that we will get to know and life on the farm at Rabbit Hill will feel complete again.
But still -- I will wonder about Bonnie--- and Sweetie--and Daisy--maybe next spring we will see their legacy arrive in our fields....
I warned you this would be sappy.
Ode to 'les vaches' ... the ladies are back at their home farm starting their life as 'milkers' and their calves sold or raised to do the same....
But the fun, curiosity and 'la bonne vie' they brought to Rabbit Hill our first summer--- will not be forgotten.
Hope you had a bon week-end mes amis!
I'll be back soon!