I've only had one calf born on the farm, 18 months ago, Willis arrived to our beloved Macy. Macy is gone now, she couldn't make it though another winter (that's another blog entry, but I'm still not ready to write it. I miss her so much) but we have Willis. All of our other steers come to us from my dear friend's raw dairy. Theyre usually several weeks old, but still on a bottle. But Willis was born here, so he's kind of special.
Here he is with Gusty. (Don't judge the 'gate', I was trying to keep them in the garden so I could clean the barn.)
The thing is, when I snapped this shot, I thought it was Mors. I didn't realize it was Willis until weeks later, when I was going through my phone photos.
This is Mors.
Big difference. One has horns, the other is nearly 500 lbs heavier. Mors is also our herd steer. His position in the herd makes him absolutely invaluable to me. Where I go, Mors goes. Where Mors goes, the herd follows. Mors also respects fences and he likes to stay close to home. Mostly.
There was this little UPS Truck chasing incident this winter;
Honest mistake really, a brown truck could easily be mistaken for an orange bus. For my herd, the orange bus=bedtime. When the herd saw the brown truck and no Katie, they went looking for their bedtime story. No biggie.
Wow, I can derail a story. Oh yeah, Willis.
Willis is about 4th in line for herd steer. That means he has a healthy flight zone and if I push he doesn't push back. Ever. He doesn't come in for ear scratches, even his curious nature can't draw him beyond his safe zone or into my comfort zone. Or for that matter, crossing the lines Mors had drawn for him.
So when I saw this, I naturally assumed it was Mors getting a hug and quickly jumped on the photo-op. Mors doesn't have a flight zone (with me) and he gets all the ear scratches and belly rubbing he can stand.....but it was Willis. What an endearing surprise.
He just doesn't do this. But then again, I'm not his girl. Evidently he had a girl, I just didn't know it.
His girl was the one scratching his still wet ears after he was born. She was the one playing rodeo games with him every night when he was a newborn. She was Gusty.
Of course it was Willis coming in for some love. I shouldn't have ever assumed it was Mors. Mors is my boy. Willis is Gusty's boy.
Just when I think I have the herd figured out, they teach me something new. Every time. And thank goodness for that.