We have an adorable newborn calf and some odd news to accompany it!
The long awaited event finally happened. The anticipation is over.
Before I give you the good news, let me warn you - there is bad news and more good news. So, I will give it you in that order: good, bad, good. After all, it is Monday and I don't want to leave you with bad news to start your week off.
First of all, the good news or part of it - Margie had her calf- an adorable bull calf that is healthy and adorable. He is light brown and full Jersey. Those big brown eyes will melt your heart. Especially when he is mooooing for more milk - you just want to keep filling the bottle for him!
Margie delivered him without any problems. In fact, we have been watching for signs of calving so, when we woke up one morning and she was off by herself in a thicket of cat's claw, we knew it must be time. Unlike other times, we basically just left her alone (rather than pulling up chairs and watching) and checked her periodically. By mid-afternoon, he was born.
We left them together the rest of the day and moved them to the cow shed for protection from the night's cold. Letting them out again into the pasture the next morning, the calf devotedly followed Margie back into the pasture where we left them.
Now the bad news.
Early afternoon, we went to find them and - the newborn calf was gone! No, I am not kidding. He was nowhere to be found. We scoured the pasture looking in, around and under each patch of cat's claw thicket. NO calf!
Even Margie was looking and lowing - NO calf!
If you know anything about cattle, a newborn calf, who is not even 24 hours old, will not wander from its mother. They seem to know that the mother's colostrum is needed to seal their intestinal wall - without it, they will die.
But, just to be safe, I called the sheriff to see if anyone had reported finding a newborn calf - no reports.
One of our sons had seen a strange red SUV on our dirt road earlier in the day. So, the search began - I drove around looking for a red SUV. Stopping at our oldest son's home (whose land is adjacent to our own), I found that he had also noticed the red SUV speeding along - it was the speed that caught his attention.
In van, on foot and four wheeler, we looked, but still, NO calf - he was gone. Poor Margie. Poor us. Everyone was sad, feeling violated and in disbelief!
Had Margie not also been looking for her calf, it would be easy to convince ourselves that we just missed him and that she had him well hidden.
Once more, I called the sheriff and reported the stolen calf. I felt like a real Texan when I asked if there has been a problem with cattle rustling in our area.
This is something that happens in John Wayne movies, not on our own land!
The sheriff very kindly listened to all the evidence - which was not much: missing day old calf, red SUV and lots of turn around marks on the dirt road. Several children were able to give a description of the car but it was too far away to get a license plate number - red, late '90 early 2000 model, speeding, tinted windows probably factory done. Not much to go on!
Assuring us that the sheriffs would patrol our area more heavily for a couple of weeks, he said goodbye.
As I had driven around looking for a red SUV, my prayer was that the Lord would miraculously convict the rustlers and for no explained reason, they would return the calf.
More good news:
I cannot express the feelings I had that night - violated and disbelieving really sum it up. Rustlers had come onto our property in broad daylight and stolen a calf that was not even a day old. A calf that would die without colostrum - what a waste!
As we went to bed that night, we prayed as a family for the cattle rustlers - for their salvation and the return of the calf.
At morning milking, Margie would not come. Normally, she comes eager for the grain she is fed while milking. The boys could see her. They called her. All to no avail.
Walking up to get her, what do you think they saw? The calf. Yes, he was back! And, he had just been returned in the pre-dawn darkness. He was thin and the sides of his abdomen were sunken. When they are with the mother, they have full fat tummies - his was not.
Talk about excitement! He immediately began nursing and we kept them together opting not to milk Margie that morning.
The sheriff's office was amazed. We were amazed.
We had not even had time before he was rustled to decide on a name. So, that morning, we named him "Losty". He had been lost but now was found. He really should be named, "Foundy"!
Is God Santa Claus? No.
But, He did answer our prayers.
Don't underestimate the power of prayer - God does care about even the smallest areas of our life!