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Pickles, Onions, Cheese?

From the Farm

December 5, 2008

I have some awfully lucky nieces, and not only because I am their "really-cool aunt." I don't know why they think that, but they do. They fight over who gets to sit next to me at meals.

The nieces from my side of the family, all in the sixth grade and younger, are the only ones who seem to ask about the cows whenever we have a family gathering. All the boys are too old for that. They have other things on their minds.

All four of the girls - Allie, Megan, Jessica and Emily - call me Sissy. It's a name my older sister blessed me with when she was young.

"Hey Sissy, did Allie have her calves yet?" Allie asks every time she sees me.

"I don't know that. You'll have to ask Steve," I reply.

"Hey Sissy, are there any cows going to have their calf today?" Megan will ask.

Again, I have to explain how I am not sure if any are going to have their calf today, but it's very possible that one could be born that day.

Jessica usually asks about the kittens and the calves. She just wants to know if there are any here. Sometimes we don't have any, sometimes we do.

Emily always asks about all the dogs.

"How's Chopper? Is Jake still alive? How big is Lilly?"

When we all were together for Thanksgiving, it wasn't any different.

"Hey Sissy, are any cows going to have their calves?"

"I don't know you'll have to ask Steve."

Yadda, yadda, yadda.

After a delightful meal at the Holiday Inn, we all gathered at our house. Before we go inside Steve and I checked on the cows due to calf. That's business as usual.

Sure enough, a heifer was actually in the process of giving birth. We made the decision to not tell the girls immediately because we didn't want to get the heifer all worked up and create birthing problems.

But I couldn't keep it in. They badgered me the minute I stepped in the house.

I explained how they could go look at the heifer, one a time, and very quietly.

"Can I stand by the hay bales while Jessie looks?"

"Do I have to stand outside?"

"You can all go in, just be quiet and calm."

It was no more than 15 minutes when Jessica was running back to the house, opened the front door all out of breath and said, "She's already had it!"

So the girls watched the new mom lick the calf clean. When they were bored they returned to the house and Steve told them we would check on the calf and mom at 4 p.m.

Well, at 4 p.m. we heard, "Steve, it's four, let's go check on the calf."

Before Steve even had his behind out the door, Jessie again came running to the front door of the house.

"She's had twins! She had another one. I thought she still looked kind of fat after the first one!" she breathlessly exclaimed.

I think it's really cool that my nieces can get so excited over this and that we can share it with them. Two years ago, when I had Thanksgiving here, a calf was born that day as well, it was named Turkey.

This year they named the twins - Ham and Meatballs! That makes me smile.

I suppose in two years, when I host thanks giving again, a set of triplets will be born.

I wonder what the girls will name them - Pickles, Onions, Cheese?

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