You may remember Granite. She made a rather auspicious debut at the Cuba livestock show last year. By summer's end, she'd proven herself worthy of the title, "Showmanship Heifer." In show-cattle-speak, that means she went from a head-tossing, let-me-try-and-kick-you attitude to one of general obedience and tolerance of her show ring surroundings. Really, that's a pretty massive turnaround.
In a little girl's world, it's enough to endear an animal forever.
Granite was due to calve January 13, and Jenna began hounding her dad to get her in the barn somewhere around Christmastime. She watched her regularly the week before, with no sign of any impending calf. Granite was the original watched pot that wouldn’t boil. Jenna checked her three times a day, and casually mentioned that she may have to stay home from school. You know. Just in case.
As it turns out, that wasn't necessary. With little warning or fanfare, Granite had her calf last week, very considerately doing so one day after school.
Jewel was born, and Jenna was smitten.
She chose her name, "because it has to be something like a rock." Done. Little Jewel was up and walking in 10 minutes, nursing shortly after and running within an hour. Already, she seems to be a pretty good match for her owner.
It's a big deal, this calving of your first heifer. As I sat here writing, I remembered a photo of me with my first show heifer's calf. Princess Royal the 16th was a big, beautiful roan heifer, and she made a great cow. It's funny the things you remember; I can very clearly remember going down to the barn to see the calf for the first time. I even remember wearing this coat with those crazy little pins. But I can't recall whether she had a bull or a heifer. Odd. I'll have to pull the records out.
Anyway. It's been a big week on the Spangler farm. Jenna's already plotting the cow/calf pair classes she can enter this summer, and informing her brother that while he may be leading Jewel, she still belongs to Jenna. And she's got her show heifer for 2014 all ready to go. This should be fun.
I just hope little Jewel is up for it.