Between contractions Lariat was nibbling at the leaves on a branch, so I pulled a few wild raspberry leaves from over the fence and she gobbled them down. Raspberry leaves are supposed to be good to prevent engorgement of the udder, so I ran across the pasture to the garden and picked a few stems of raspberry leaves from the garden for her.
Lariat spent along time cleaning him off. Meanwhile, all the other cows were mooing and thunder was rumbling --a storm was brewing.
I was very anxious for him to stand up and take his first drink so we could move them into shelter before the rain started.
I don't have any photos of the next part, the stressful part. Right after this photo, heavy rain began to pelt us. All the other cows were closed in the middle pasture, so we barricaded their entrance into the loafing shed. I hefted the calf and ran to the shed, Lariat trotting beside me mooing. We got the cow and calf in and closed the gate so the other bovines couldn't enter. Everything seemed to be going relatively smoothly as I got hay and water for Lariat and tried to get the calf to nurse, until the other cows decided they wanted in to check out the new member of the herd.
Somehow LaFonda stuck her head through the narrow gap between the gate and the barn and then she barged her way in, pulling the gate hardware out of the wall. Suddenly, all the cows were in the shed, crowding around Lariat and her calf, Lariat whirling around to stay between him and all of them - I was so worried he would get stepped on by somebody and was trying to push the big cows away. Plus, to heighten the drama, it was lightning, thundering, pouring and hailing. Even if I tried to lure the other cows out with treats or grain, there was no way they were going out into that weather. The calf hadn't nursed yet and it had been almost two hours since he was born, so I was also getting panicky about that. I had been trying to maneuver the calf to the teats, but Lariat wouldn't let him back there. Now with the chaos of the storm and cows and the baby being so worn out from trying, it seemed hopeless.
I tucked the calf in a corner to protect him from being trampled and ran through rain to get stored colostrum out of the freezer, a calf bottle out of the barn, start thawing it (why did I freeze it in a big gallon block?!) and post my problem on the family cow message board. Within moments, several people responded that I needed to get mom and baby away from the other cows and try not to worry that he hadn't eaten yet.
Rog suggested we move her to the milking parlor, the only other cow-secure space we have, but Lariat had never been in there and I wasn't sure she would enter the barn., I scooped up the baby and carried him through the rain to the stall and Lariat trotted closely beside me, entering with no problem.
It was 10 p.m. when I went in to take a much-needed shower and eat some supper.
The calf is so cute --looks just like his big sister, Jitterbug. Now we need to come up with a name...Storm? Thor? Or, keeping with the dance theme, Charleston? He's so black and shiny--Licorice? Suggestions welcome.