Upon arrival we went out to the pens. Being a horse girl, I was unsure what to expect from a cattle sale of this caliber. We walked all the pens looking for the tag number of the heifer, because we hadn't even seen a picture of her. Finally, found the tag on a beautiful black & white heifer. I walked in the pen with her. He walked to her rump, quietly inviting her to walk so he could see how she moved. I stood at the front. I held out my hand. She walked right up to me & licked me.
I had been around cattle at school, but they were not pets. They were animals there to do a job. I has never seen their personalities before. So, I was instantly in love with this heifer. She had the kindest eye, the sweetest personality. I was instantly in love.
Then the nervousness began. Waiting for the auction to start & my cow to enter the ring. Yes, I was already calling her mine. Honey's first pick entered the ring about 10 head in. She went for nearly $10000. Ouch. No way we were close enough to buy her. Her opening bid was more than our budget. So, we wait... Nearly two hours. The once packed stands start to loosen; the prices stay consistently at our budget. Her only saving grace is that she has lots of white on her; not a desire able trait in a cow for most cattlemen at this time. We might be able to afford her. Might...
I'm so nervous at this point; I'm afraid to twitch. The ring men were faster than any others I'd seen. Oh my!! She enters the ring. Honey doesn't immediately bid. What!?! Then he raises his number. She started with 5 bidders; now we are down to two of us. The bidding slows; then stops with us.... Just over our max budget. My poor Honey is so still & nervous. I kick him. The ring man sees me so it. Announcing that he better bid; because Mama wants the heifer. Honey glances at me & nods! She's mine! I mean OURS!!!! I vow to him that I'll find the extra $. We go pay & wait in line an hour to load her. Thank goodness! That would have been a long 5 hour drive if we hadn't won her.
Lacey was my baby from the time we unloaded her until the day she died. She was my very first MommaCow. When the kids were little & we would take the truck to check cows; I would roll down the back window & she would lick their cheeks :) At the first holler of "Come Baaas" she would trot to the truck.
One year she kept getting out to the north. Every Day! Within 2 hours of putting her back; she would be out. So I sat across the road & watched... We had a cattle panel for a gate. She stuck her nose under the edge & crawled on her knees under the gate & then are the super yummy ditch grass. Stinker. I wired an old wood fence post to the bottom of the gate so she couldn't slide her head under. Fixed that problem.
When it was time to work cows; Lacey always let you know she was better than the average cow & needed special attention to go through the tub & chute. She wanted haltered & grain like during her old show days :) Honey would always curse her & tell me to get "my" cow. She would put her head in the halter & walk through like a princess. She would wait until her shots were given & demand grain. (Meaning the only way you could get her out was to offer grain). She was the highlight of my day checking cows.
As she got older; she showed signs that she was moon blind. She could see sometimes & not a thing at other times. Lacey & I worked out a system of come baas & maaamas to get her to come to me & direct her through gates if she couldn't see. When I started my grass fed beef program I started with a golroup of calves that had pink eye as babies & their sight abilities varied. I put Lacey in with them in a 10 acre paddock. She thought them really quick to come to me when I brought alfalfa cubes & salt. She also led them to water & the barn each night. The last several years she lived completely in the barn. Her hips became really sore & arthritic. I was ok with that. She kept Lenny company in the winter.
We thought Lacey was done having calves 4 years ago. Sure enough, A.Cowgirl comes running in from the barn shouting that Lacey has FEET!!!! Huh? She is CALVING! This would be the first calf A.Cowgirl took the time to watch a calf born from start to finish. The calf was red; a heifer. After much discussion between the girls; her name was Freedom. Her sire was Lenny (registered name Liberty).
Freedom would be A.Cowgirl's first show heifer. She had her momma's amazing disposition & loves her girl to the end of the world & back!
The following year Lacey began to be bothered by her hips. Once again, we thought she was done calving. This time deep in March, J.ustaCowgirl comes running inside saying Lacey had feet! So we went outside & watched her calve. When the last foot was out & we were rubbing her down; the girls started debating about her foot.... A Star! Yes, the calf had a Star! Many cheers because it was a heifer too!!
The last couple years were hard. But Lacey wasn't ready to go. She taught all the show heifers that being scratched & loved on was a good thing. She followed my voice through all the gates & pens. She thought me to love cows many yars ago & still to this day. She died in December. She is hurried in a large mound.
Thank you Lacey for being my first cow love.
GreenRanchingMom- Mama to the Momma Cows at the ECC