I was out on my walk yesterday when I saw the white pickup pull out of Filipowski's barnyard driveway and start to head north. Then, it backed up and turned my way.
As it came closer, I could see that both Jack and Colleen were in the truck. Colleen opened the window and asked if I wanted to come and see their Hereford first baby of the year.
As I walked, they turned around again and met me near their barn. Inside, in a clean bed of straw lay a good-sized bull calf, born the night before, with his mother, a first-calf heifer standing a distance away simply watching her new baby.
I took a few photos, we talked briefly and then went our separate ways. Jack and Colleen have a couple dozen more babies to welcome into the world on their farm up the road.
The opportunity to see this hours' old, adorable baby took me back to the days when we raised horned and polled Herefords on our North Boyer farm.
Though it was the messy, sloppy time of the year, I didn't mind the times nearly as much as I do these days.
Baby calves made the miserable conditions all worth it. Plus, I loved the challenge of being the first to discover each new calf.
Those days must have been when I decided early mornings were the best because with the first light (our calves were usually born in March and April) I was up, dressed, quietly tiptoeing through the house and out the door in minutes.
One morning while checking on some cows in one of the barnyard corrals, I sensed something moving behind me and looked in time to see a coyote quietly and quickly cross the corral and head on its way.
On another occasion, which I've mentioned a time or two, a mother cow did not welcome my presence. When she took after me on slop-covered, slick ice in the barnyard, I slipped and fell, grabbing a handful of icky, wet manure to fling at her as a means of defense.
Thankfully, she stopped and went back to her calf.
Those were wonderful times and precious memories. We who love the farm life in the family all miss the cows but probably not the work or expense that goes into them.
So, it is nice to live vicariously through the neighbors who were kind enough yesterday to invite me in to see the precious baby.
Thinking about baby calf season got me to thinking about our cow herd in general, and since it's Throwback Thursday, I went to the shoebox that sits on a table next to my computer.
It is filled with at least a couple of hundred black and white snapshots or color prints from the good ol' days when Mother and Harold were guiding us through our childhood.
Childhood for us included horses, Hereford cows, trips to Michigan to see Aunt Louise and the coming of Batch Two. Even part of Batch Two went on one Michigan trip.
During our childhood years, we also had cousins, whom we saw more often pictured on the annual Christmas cards (like the one below of all but one of the Waltho children of Ephrata) than we did in person.
Happily, that has changed in the past few years, and we see each other at least once or twice a year. Sandpoint will serve as the venue for the cousins' reunion this fall. Mother and Harold would be proud to know we've all become pretty good friends.
The year that part of Batch Two went on the Michigan trip in the '58 Ford ranchwagon was the same year our brother Mike had finished his first year at West Point (1963). That was the trip when Mother and I wondered if we would live to make it to Kalamazoo when someone tried to break into our motel room in a town called Ironwood in Michigan's UP.
We spent the rest of the night wide awake, armed with cans of Franco American spaghetti which we planned to hurl at the intruders should they try breaking in again. Through it all, my two sisters slept soundly, only knowing of the terror from stories told.
During a visit with relatives and some of Mother's old friends and college classmates, Mike met us in Kalamazoo. Then, Mother, Barbara, Laurie, Mike and I resumed our road trip back to Idaho.
Those were definitely good times, and as the years pass, the appearance of faces of family and of youthful days in those visual memories become sweeter.
|Mike and Kevin both sold fat steers in the 4-H stock sale. Mother and Marianne wept.|
|Milford aka FF Millirion 11 from the Feenan Ranch in Colfax was our herd bull. He also provided a ride or two through the pasture for my brother Kevin who stood on his wide, flat back.|
|Kevin, Mike and little Barbara in our living room at the house on North Boyer. Photos of our dad Harold's foundation Appaloosa stallions, Toby I and Chief Joseph, hang on the wall. Those photos now hang on the wall of our sisters' barn at Colburn.|
|Our first cousins, the Walthos, from Ephrata|
|Our dad Harold being silly on Largo.|
|Harold looking at a horse. I don't know what horse it is; maybe my friend Jean Martin knows.|