The calves that survived that winter grew to be strong and beautiful. They were still nursing, but they were much more interested in the salt blocks and feed we put out, and also the hay. It was great to watch them being curious around the ponds, and when it started to warm up, they would attempt to walk into the water to cool off. They still let me touch them, and they would follow me around the pasture when I went walking. They all decided to ignore my dogs, since one of them just barked, and the other just wanted to eat their shit (stupid dog!).
Once they were weaned, it was time for them to go. I try not to think of where they went exactly, because I know the rancher that we bought them from, and he was coming to get them. Whether he took them to market for butchering, or just to sell, I don't know. It was a sad day to see them go, and I actually did cry. NO one would tell me where they were going, since they knew I had grown a bit attached (not batshit crazy attached, but I cared about them!).
My "job" that day was to keep the moms busy, once the rancher and his guys had separated the moms from the babies. How the hell do you keep a fucking cow busy, when all she cares about is the fact that her baby is getting on a trailer, and she is not??? I don't know. I put out feed, and, I will admit, I talked to them.
"It will be okay. You took great care of your baby. It's time to let her go."
(Go ahead and roll your eyes, but seriously!!!??)
The babies wailed. The moms mooooooo-ed. And they actually cried. I've never heard it before, and I can't explain it, but it was this desperate, intense, deep-chested moo. And a few of them actually went hoarse. (no pun intended)
That night, all we heard was mooing, wailing, crying. And then, it started to rain.
The cows ran from one edge of the property to another, in the pouring down rain. And mooed and wailed. It was heart wrenching, and we got very little sleep.
The next morning, it was still raining.
It rained so much that day, that our town actually flooded, the two main roads were shut down, and the news helicopters were flying over all the flooded ranches in the area.
My ladies, as I had dubbed them, had about a 20x20ft area that was not under water. The dam of the big pond almost broke, and the back pond reached all the way across all 23 acres that day.
My ladies stood in that 20x20 foot area, and cried. For two more days.
I was stuck home, due to the roads being closed, and it's all I heard. That 3rd day, I finally went outside, in the rain, and sat on the edge of the trailer. They came up to me, and I seriously had a heart-to-heart with them:
I told them that they had to stop this crying stuff. That they would have more babies. That their babies were okay. That I seriously needed some rest, and for cripe's sake, could they stop?
That night, not only did it stop raining (for a day), but they stopped wailing. It was quiet, and we all slept.