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Friday, February 24, 2012

And along came a cow

About a month ago, Hubby and I found a milk cow about 90 miles from our home.  She was a Jersey cow that a conventional dairy no longer wanted.  We had been looking (albeit not hard) for a cow for our family.  I had wanted one two years ago, but then we found out we were pregnant with Kiddo3 and Hubby said, "You can either have a baby or a cow and the baby's on the way."  Cow plans postponed.

This Jersey dairy cow was in a convention confinement dairy.  Not the best situation for our grass based farm but we had no other options in the state.  We spoke with other farmers with grass fed-former conventional cows and they cautioned us that it took a long, long time to heal those cows from their conventional upbringing.  My most favorite farmer recommended that we find a heifer and start her out right on our grass.

We really wanted this cow (looking back, we wanted ANY cow), but she was sold out from under us.  While we were working with the farm to buy her, they sold her to someone else.  A crushing blow to our little farm.

Fast forward a month...

This week, I'm in LaCrosse, Wisconsin at the MOSES Organic Conference, the largest organic farming conference in the world.  While at this conference, there just happened to be a silent auction.  And there just happened to be a friend who likes silent auctions better than I do.  She just happened to notice that there was an auction that I would be interested in.  The item for sale?  The pick of the 2012 heifer crop from one of the best organic and sustainable 100% grassfed dairies in the nation.  These farmers are excellent farmers, wonderful stewards and generous souls.

I called Hubby and told him the details.  I told him to research both the dairy and the Ayrshire breed and we'd talk later.  We texted back and forth and decided to bid.  Hubby gave me my limit and I started getting excited.  The auction ended at 9pm.  I waited until 8:45 to see where things were.  When I got there the bidding was half of our limit...this is good news!  There were two men hanging around to bid...this is not good news.

I got my game face on.  (Not my poker face, because I don't have one.)

Each of the men put a bid in, raising it by $5 and $10.  With 10 minutes to go, I upped the bid by $15.

At 8 minutes, I was outbid by $5.  (Tension mounting.)

With some excellent coaching by my silent auction guru, Lori, I edged closer to the table with pen in hand.  I was waiting for the 1minute mark.  It was the longest 7 minutes of my life.

Then, with just 60 seconds remaining, I put pen to paper and started writing my name and bidding number as slow as I possibly could.  And then I raised the bid by $45.  They were going to have to go big or go home.

As the seconds ticked off, my heart was pounding.  Would they best my bid?

I wasn't the only person posturing for a bid, so when the staff started counting down the last 10 seconds, there was a collective holding of the breaths....

3...2...1...CONGRATULATIONS!

And I was the winner!  I think there might have been a victory cry of joy.  Coach Lori hugged me in celebration.

This heifer calf is just another example of how God cares for us, for something as simple as our farm.  We had really wanted that Jersey cow, we were willing to deal with the conventional issues.  But that wasn't what was best for us.  God didn't allow us to buy that cow because he had something even better for us.  The pick of the heifer crop from a farm that already practices the same management we want to use.  A heifer that we can raise as ours, she'll be a member of our family.  We have until May to prepare for her arrival.  And we have two years to prepare to milk our own cow.  And a couple (Dave and Florence) who are so excited to help another farm family get started.  And, this cow is within easy driving distance in Minnesota!!  We've been given more than we could have even thought to ask for.  And we are so thankful...

Our new baby isn't even born yet.  Having waited for precious babies to be born three times myself recently, I have the same feeling of anticipation and excitement.  Can you tell??


There'll be many more posts to come on our new cow, of that you can be certain.


4 comments:

  1. Congratulations! I'm thrilled for you! Our son has had lots of trouble finding Jerseys that were completely grassfed, too, and has had to go with ones from conventional sources but is working with them. He just got #4 this month, and she's a honey. It's been quite the experience for our family. And all 4 cows are pregnant!

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  2. Let us know if you need help getting her home. We have trailer, and Mathea LOVES riding in the truck to haul livestock, not kidding, oh yeah, that starts in May. Seriously, we can help,
    Bob, Mathea, Marte and baby boy, at Tangle Tree Ranch

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  3. This is so exciting. When I saw the facebook post, I jumped off my chair. I think I live a little vicariously through you. :-) But I'm SUPER excited for you!!!

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    1. Happy to help provide vicarious farm living!

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