There are some mothers who are so caring and loving that they make all the rest of us look bad.
You know the ones I mean. They put cold compresses on their children's forehead when they have a fever. They make lunches for their children and cut the sandwiches into Mickey Mouse shapes. Little Post-it notes adorn the pillows on beds explaining just how much they love their children..
Well, enough about me.
Just kidding. I have never cut sandwiches into Mickey Mouse shapes.
My sister on the other hand would gladly enjoy doing all those "motherly" things for her children and all the children within a six-block radius of her house. She would make them all pancakes and fry them into a darn-close depiction of Picasso's "Nude Woman with a Necklace" or replica of de Vinci's "Last Supper."
Then she would turn the meal into an art lesson.
I, on the other hand, would make pancakes that resemble ... pancakes. Then I would teach the children about ... pancakes.
It's no different with cows. Some cows are "Super Moms" and some just go through being a mother like it's any other day. Those cows are probably delighted when the neighbor cow takes their calves for the day, week, or month.
We just so happen to a have cow that thinks she is the cat's pajamas when it comes to being a mother. Her name is Moose. That's because she is the size of a moose. She's huge.
Moose has kidnapped four calves within the past several weeks, and tried to pawn them off as her own.
The first calf she wrenched away from the mother was born outside in the pasture. I guess Steve and Mitch were bringing the cows in and Mitch commented that he thought another cow looked like she had given birth. Apparently, the two guys looked around for that calf, and found nothing. (Of course they were looking with their "man eyes" and the calf was probably no more than 20 feet in front of them, and even though the calf would be black and white and lying in a green pasture, they would assure me that the calf was camouflaged.)
Later in the day, they checked the cow that appeared to have given birth and sure enough, she was running on empty. But, there was Moose out in the pasture that day, munching on dry, green grass and Steve happened to notice a little calf next to her.
A second calf was born in the pasture a few days later, and sure enough, Moose was protecting her like I protected my little brother when he was beaned by a big rock on his walk home from school years ago. I bet those boys, now grown men, are still afraid of women.
The two other calves were actually born in the calving barn. Moose was residing on the north side of the barn, waiting to have her OWN calf, when two cows gave birth on the south side - on two different days.
Using her mother cow grunts, Moose was able to coax those two calves through a feed bunk and over to her side of the barn.
She took care of those calves as if they were her own - licking and grunting and keeping an eye on them.
It's not a bad thing that Moose seems to think she is the Queen Mum here on our farm, which would give her the ability to tell her daughters and granddaughters what to do. Moose is one of the most aged cows here on the farm. She does what she wants, when she wants to. But then again, she is also quite a big baby too. She loves having her neck scratched and she's the one that allows Joey and Russell to lie across her while she lounges in the barn chewing her cud.
I don't think she realizes that she, in fact, could just have her own calf. She wouldn't need to "adopt" all the other cow's calves. Moose is one week over-due. Any day she could have her very own calf to hide in the pasture or coax across a feed alley.
Then Moose could be the kind of mother that would allow her baby calves to run up behind her and pull her tail and jump on her back. Because of her inability to fry pancakes, she may have to teach her calves how to paint with their tails and then teach them about Jackson Pollack.
For questions or comments, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org