Friday, February 24, 2012


A casual glance out my back window shows nothing unusual: sunshine, bare-limbed cottonwoods, brown winter grass, snow-capped mountains, and some puffy clouds obscuring Cloud Peak. But, as is so common in spring, nature is not as passive as she first appears. Behind that big cottonwood, Princess’s ears are laid back, her tail is switching, and she’s restless and uncomfortable. I think she may be in the early stages of labor.

I’m more excited than nervous, since Princess has already given unassisted birth to four other calves and knows what she’s doing. I’d love to sneak out there for a closer peek, but she prefers privacy, so I’m watching what I can with binoculars.

Six years ago, Princess was adopted at age two—two days, that is—when Mama Cass lost her calf. One of two heifers born to a registered cow, Princess couldn’t be registered, so the ranch manager sold her to us. Cows don’t take kindly to strange calves, so Hubby had to skin the dead calf, tie the hide onto the new calf, and restrain Mama in a headcatch whenever Princess needed a meal. This laborious process continued for some time, with no apparent bonding, until our new cowmutt pup, Bodie, was dumb enough to enter the corral and bark at the calf. Mama’s motherly instincts took over, and she bellered and chased that pup right out of the corral. After that, Princess was her calf.

Princess didn’t come with a name, of course, just a white tag with the number 46. (Actually, few stockmen name their cows unless they’re registered. But I can’t remember numbers, and besides, cattle have so much personality that they often name themselves if you’re around them for any length of time.) Princess carried herself with dignity and style, as if she knew that her blood was a bit bluer than that of the other calves we had. Her sire and dam, besides being registered, were part of the well-known Beartooth Ranch herd of Black Angus, formerly owned by actor Mel Gibson. Please pardon the blurriness of this photo of Mama and little Princess, but it absolutely captures Her Highness’ demeanor!

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a dedicated nation, [God's] own purchased, special people, that you may set forth the wonderful deeds and display the virtues and perfections of Him Who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.”  1 PETER 2:9

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