Daisy May

2/15/19, 10:51 AM

By: Diane Frances

She was just a day old when we met, curled up in the wood shavings and her big round brown eyes lifting from her nap after romping with her fellow newborn calf in their stall. Where does that feeling come from? A loving tenderness, and a desire, no, a need, to care for this small gentle creature who looks nothing like me. I drop on my knees, lay down beside her, pet her face, smell her, smile. She is unafraid, trusting. And she smells as sweet as a spring rain.51740380_395594051006013_6254520595514392576_n.jpg

 Daisy May is a gift. Life from life, for sure, her mom is Sprinkles, a Jersey loved for herself by the otherwise Holstein dairy farm. Dairies often have a few Jerseys as part of their herd for the extra butterfat they add to the milk. So Sprinkles is part of the milking herd now and Daisy May will become a part of our farm family once she is weaned.

 I know about this because Clover came to us from another Holstein dairy. She gave birth to Paulie, her only calf, here on our farm just over 10 years ago. Birth, life, truly a miracle, this the only one I have ever witnessed, etched in my mind forever. He was a strapping young fellow and soon was drinking pretty much all the milk that Clover produced, though I did manage to collect some. It made the most delicious cheese and yogurt and butter, and was so very sweet and creamy and delicious to drink. Mother and son were inseparable, until he passed away peacefully one night last summer in the pasture. Just that spring Doc told us he had an enlarged heart and was surprised he had lived as long as he had. It prepared us, but only a very little. Clover was not prepared, and she lowed for him for weeks. We cried together like babies.

 Then one day an angel asked Clover and me to open our hearts to the calf who would be Daisy May. Yes, an angel, my friend Angela knew about Paulie’s passing and Clover’s lonesomeness and my sadness. Her Holstein dairy didn’t need another Jersey as much as we did, she said.

 I waited patiently, yet with some trepidation as no birth on a farm is assured. Then the email came: Congratulations! It’s a Girl! Her name has been Daisy May at least since the spring of 2008 when I knew that Clover, who was already pregnant, was coming to live with us. For some unknown reason I thought her baby would be a girl so I picked her name and when she was born a boy he was named for the young farmer who taught me about dairy cows. And no, I was never disappointed that he wasn’t a she, I loved him with all my heart as he grew to be the sweetest most gentle giant I have ever known. Life doesn’t end, it just takes on new forms and continues its journey.

 Clover will soon have a new companion. She and Daisy May will enjoy the pasture together, eating the grass, sleeping in the shade of the tree line, swatting the flies for each other. Few things are more pleasant, more peaceful. A new beginning on the farm in a story as old as time.