February 8th 2008 - February 17th 2009
Those of you who have been following my journey know all about Oliver.
Oliver was my first hand raised calf, and quickly stole my heart.
To know me a few years ago, you know how I LOATHED cows. LOL I had a few bad experiences with them when I was younger, and I just grew to hate them.
Then - I met Oliver who totally changed how I thought about cows.
Oliver was a twin, who was orphaned by his mother. We spent 2 full days looking for where his momma had left him, in the biggest snow of the year. Huge fat fluffy flakes of snow were falling all around, and the silence of the snow fall was so breathtaking. Tramping around in the woods those two days with the snow and silence was just an awesome two days! No matter the cold, being in the middle of nature with no cars, concrete, sidewalks, or homes was calming. I dont think Norm would have wasted those two days to look for a calf if it hadn't been for me nagging him like I did.
Norm was ready to give up on finding the little calf.....but I wasnt happy with that answer either. Yes I was very scared of cows then, and wasnt attached to any of them (even though some had been given names!) I still couldnt let the little calf die. It had been 3 days now since we had seen him with his mother...time was running out.
At the last minute we heard a little muffled bawl of a calf! Finally! We got him home and warmed up and he was tube fed the first time, quite happy to have some warm milk in his tummy. Oliver was named after the movie Oliver Twist, who was an orphan too. Ollie took to the bottle quickly and his love for us was apparent from day one. We often got him out for long periods of the day and play all around the yard, with him following, jumping and making messes! I can't imagine what people must have thought as they drove by to see me and the kids running around the yard with a little calf following us everywhere just as if he was a dog! Yes we had several neighbors pull up to see this sight on more than one occasion, and a few near misses as people would strain their necks to see what in tarnations we were doing, and quickly have to swerve to get their car back on the road again!
He stole every ones heart, especially mine!
There wont be many like him, usually cows are aloof, but not Oliver. He loved every rub and scratch he could get and often made you love on him by rubbing his head all over you or putting his cold nose into your hand for a ear scratch! Tuesday morning came, already with me in a grave mood from the day before.
and then, we found Oliver, almost a year to the day that I first met him.
He somehow had gotten his back downhill and couldnt get up. Oliver was gone, dying sometime in the night.
Oliver was one in a lifetime.
Norm had just agreed a week before that I could keep him to use to teach Doug how to show calves, or just to keep as a pet. He knows how much I loved that little guy. Even though he was getting much bigger and a year old, Those dark brown eyes were the same as they were the day I first held his head in my hands.My emotions were raw all day. I couldnt keep from crying, as I am now while I'm typing this and thinking about the week. Oliver taught me and my kids so much about cows, hand raising a bottle fed calf, the ins and the outs, and all the joy of a little calf who has adopted you as his momma. Oliver was special he can never be replaced. I'm so thankful that we got the opportunity to love and learn from him like we did. He has taught us all invaluable lessons over the last year of his life.
And with tears again tonight....I say goodbye to my Oliver.
You'll be missed by us all.....