Opal - and Her New Calf!

Just when one settles into the beginning of summer, and the gardens have been planted, the chicks have hatched and our lambs born, and of course the piglets have arrived too – the summer rhythm of early dew-filled mornings and hot garden work mid day becomes the daily norm. With no more animals due to birth, a certain summer peace falls on the farmstead ….. or so you think. As is so often the case in farming, surprises can suddenly shake this all up.

For many months now and after many tests and exams, it was clear to us farmers and our vet that Opal was not expecting a calf as we had hoped. We were of course sad, but resigned to the new fact and moved forward planning ahead. Little did we know that Opal had very different ideas, and has all the time been quietly nurturing a calf inside her. After seeing some new changes with her, we called our vet back again, and with great surprise to us all, we learned that not only had she been in calf all these many weeks, but was in fact due to give birth in the next several days!

Once we had final confirmation from the vet that Opal was not just pregnant, but due imminently, we set to ready the barn, get all of our milking supplies in order and then finally, ready ourselves. And we waited, and we watched – early morning, through the day, into the evening and in the darkest hours of the night, checking on Opal every few hours as she made herself ready…… and then we waited some more. Finally, on July 5th, with no one looking and the farmers having finished chores and headed back home for breakfast, in the quiet of the barn, her calf was born – a big bull calf with long legs, like a steeplechaser.

The arrival of a calf is no small thing and the impact on a farmer’s day is significant. A newly freshened mother cow requires not only twice daily milking, but also care for the calf and constant checking that the first days go well for all in the herd as they settle into their new family dynamics. Meanwhile, the rest of the livestock of course need our care too.

All of this has been made so much easier by a wonderful crew who have stepped up to support us: Sylvana, Brett, Sylvie, and Lex and without whom this would just not be possible.

I know that the calf will delight us all when in the next few days he steps out of the barn and into the sunlight, with his long gangly legs; and I feel sure will be greeted by so many happy farm campers!

– Nicki and Paule

Opal - and Her New Calf!