Yesterday I did my chores early and set off with truck and trailer for the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont. (“Kingdom” is an odd word to find enshrined in Yankee Vermont, but the stretch of state by the Canadian border certainly is beautiful. On the drive I also passed through “Eden.” The taciturn Vermonter must be a creature of myth.)
I was on my way to buy a heifer.
For a while now I’ve known I was going to move from dairy cattle to beef. I do not need more than a couple of gallons of milk per week and my time has become more limited. My dear Jersey cow, Moxie, had a rough summer — I must write about it soon — and while I pulled her through, for seven straight weeks (while simultaneously coping with our move), I spent many daily hours sweating to save her udder. Moxie is eight years old. It’s been clear that even with the best care I won’t have many more years with her. Thus I have been watching ads on Craigslist and debating the various merits of Herefords, Linebacks, Anguses, and Galloways.
In the end I was convinced to go with an Angus by a great deal on a bred heifer — and also by the fact that this little girl greatly resembles my beloved first cow, Katika, shrunk in the dryer. Angus cattle are from Aberdeen, so I am mulling Scottish names. Here she is in the trailer, coming home with me on the ferry.
Speed, bonnie boat, like a bird on the wing, over the sea to… Plattsburgh.
The heifer stepped off the trailer into my barn with no fuss. Moxie was greatly excited, the calves bucked and frolicked, and I kept them all in the barn overnight to talk between stalls and settle down.
I let them out early this morning and they are cropping grass peaceably. I will get the chain collar off her neck tonight.
A new chapter begins… and another of the big chores on my list is successfully crossed off.