calving and other stories

I want to write something beautiful and moving.

Or at least humorous.

Or stimulating.

But lately all good words evade me and the online world seems like a desperate cry of Look at Me, Me, Me.  It feels like pish-posh and I don’t even know why.

I say that without judging all of you who are writing good and beautiful and witty things in the least.  You know as well as I do that I am up there pish-poshing with the best of you when I’m in the mood.

It would appear that this online cynicism happens frequently to some of us and is becoming recurrent in my life.  Because as I was writing about this dilemma, I had serious deja vu.

I do not know the source of it. But I thought that maybe if I break right in with honesty and just write for a bit, I can get over myself.

I will not pretend. It was one of the harder winters and springs of my life. Some of the people that I love the most in all the world were going through terribly hard things and I couldn’t write about them.  I cried more than I laughed, spring was slow and cold and bleak and wet and muddy and snowy and hard.

Spring (if you could call it that) had some wonderful times, too. There was a pastors’ retreat in Montana and a ladies’ retreat down there too.  There was Easter in sunny, green Ontario and new and old friends to make life sweet.

Crazy things happen around here lately.  Like nine-year-olds writing “deodorant” on the grocery list for the first time.  These are my babies and all of a sudden they’re worried about sweating.

Liesl turned 8 in May and she is agonizing over picking out her calf, which is what happens the spring after you turn 8 when you are one of Dan’s offspring.

Here Liesl is at one year old.  I can’t stand how cute she is, then and now.


She thought she had picked out her calf the other night and she came in and described the little heifer to me, “She’s just so pretty and elegant and delicate and cute all at the same time!” she said breathlessly.  Then she changed her mind because the calf is kind of wild.

Spring has crept in on us and now it’s here with full force, blowing us away with its gorgeousness.  The green washes the windows of my soul and life looks hopeful and good.  I cleaned most of my windows and we had delightful weekend company from Idaho and they probably thought that my windows always look like this.

I get some sun and it hides the dark circles under my eyes.

So what would you like to hear about over here?

On Sunday evening, Dan and I took the three youngest children to the park in town.  It was warm and windy.  We always stand out in our billowy dresses, we Mennonite girls.  The kids took their scooter and roller blades.  Farm kids have a hard time finding smooth concrete for toys like that.  I read Beautiful Boy by David Sheff off and on while the children played.  It’s  the heartbreaking story of a boy addicted to meth, written by his father.  Dan did Sudoku.

For three days in a row,  Dan’s cows produced seven calves each day.  They’re exploding  out there.  There are still a lot to go. It’s good that he takes time to do fun things in all the busyness of cow checking.

On the way home, we drove into the pasture below the house to check on the heifers.  One of them was laboring seriously and Dan asked if we wanted to stay around and watch a calf being born.  Everyone did but Natalia, age 11.

Two little hooves are appearing in the designated spot for calves to make their debut.

The young mom is in obvious discomfort, poor little two-year-old thing that she is.

She writhes a bit, more leg appears.

Things get more serious.  Natalia hides her eyes.

This  is the very reason I want to adopt children,” she says.

“Yeah, that’s one great thing about being a boy,” says Andre (9).

Other curious cows come over to inspect the poor little almost-mother.

Andre: “They’re like, hey, we know just what you’re going through.  We just did it three days ago.”

MOM probably knows what she’s going through, says someone.

Yeah, I kind of do.  I feel it all over again when I watch a cow giving birth.

They ask all kinds of questions.

“Did Mom scream?” they ask Dan.

And other questions, more intrusive things.

The head appears and the heifer spooks, getting up and walking a bit in her pain and awkwardness.  Natalia hides her eyes again.

Before we know it, there’s this healthy girl calf on the ground and the mother is licking it.

“She looks skinnier already!” says Natalia of the new mother.

Lesson over.

My sister and her husband of five months just visited us from Virginia. She was saying how her husband Ben, who is 78, loves lilacs and was enjoying them across the US as they traveled. “He really likes purple,” she said. “He’s kind of colour blind and doesn’t seem to notice the reds and yellows. I’m thinking I need to make myself some purple dresses!”

Ben loves to travel, but likes to do it economically. So they camp when they’re not staying with friends or relatives. He built Carol a plywood platform that they cover with a foam mattress so that she can easily get in and out of bed. This contraption folds up and fits into a minivan!

Their mutual respect and care for each other is wonderful to see.

Our May and June are packed full of guests.  It is busy and fun.  The quackgrass is overtaking the asparagus patch and every corner of the yard and garden needs attention.

It’s been good to talk to you again.  Other stuff is happening in our lives too.  But for now it’s good to write about the surface and the happy.


13 thoughts on “calving and other stories

  1. You may not have intended to write something beautiful or moving or humorous or stimulating, but I do believe you’ve accomplished all 3. 🙂 This post gave me a calm and peaceful and interested feeling, like stepping outdoors into clean fresh air. Sorry for all the hard spots you’very been experiencing. Thank you for letting us live with you some of your everyday moments.

  2. I adore your writing. Your first lines have more insight than anything I’ve read for some time, and I love the Canadian fresh air springtime blowing out of this post. (Oh shoot. I just read Lucinda’s comment, and she said the same thing. Well, she was insightful too. Lol.)

    It’s been a hard winter and spring here too, and I’m a wallower; I have to tell myself firmly that it is okay to be surface sometimes.

    1. Thanks, Shari. ❤️
      I’m sorry for your hard things. The term “wallower” is so apt for me too. Thankfully it is so much easier not to wallow when there are green and earthy things to do.

  3. What a lovely refreshing post. Loved the calf story. And may the hard things get just a bit easier with the coming of spring….[please, God? Please?]

  4. Good to hear from you, Luci. I always enjoy your posts, especially the windows into daily life. Your honesty is refreshing, and sometimes astounding. I love that. I’d like to wish you blessings that you can recognize, and courage, and hope, and hugs if you need them…but I’m afraid that sounds [silly] coming from an almost-stranger. The Father sees and knows, and may He give you what you need.

    1. Vivian, thank you! I’ll
      take hope, courage, and hugs from strangers any time. 😊That is so kind of you and thanks for commenting here.

      Do I know you? The Vivians I’m thinking of in my life aren’t almost-strangers.

      1. Oregon. I didn’t get to talk to you at either of the events (a wedding and a funeral) at which I saw you here in the last year or two (or however long it’s been), although I would’ve liked to. It didn’t feel right to walk past you, but it was necessary that day.

      2. I thought of the Oregon Vivian, but couldn’t for the life of me remember your last name. Now I have it-Turner! 😉

        I hope I didn’t walk rudely by you at those occasions. I do remember your face and name.

  5. How is it that you were in Ontario and I didn’t hear about it?!!
    Loved hearing from you again. Sometimes you just need to write and more will come!
    Talyia and I have semi permanently moved outside. We do better in the sunshine and yes, spring is beautiful after a long hard winter. I learned something about digging in my shovel and just keeping on this winter. I learned things about God too, how that sometimes He wants me to dig and sometimes He wants me to open wide, wide my hands and let it all go. Even when I want to strangle people with my bare hands.
    Love to you!

    1. Hi Louella! Nice to hear from you.
      Dan spoke at Arthur church at their Easter conference weekend. We talked about looking you guys up, but we didn’t really connect with anybody besides the church people that we went to serve because we didn’t know where to start and stop. Plus, the weekend was very busy. We could have at least invited you over to Arthur, I guess. 🙂 It would be fun to see you. Isn’t spring-summer just fabulous?

      Isn’t sprung

  6. I know what you mean about the online scream. It makes me feel less like putting my words out there, even when I’m full of ideas. I feel tired inside and think that someone else probably wrote it all already.

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