Friday, May 23, 2014:
The phone rang with the sanctus bells at consecration. They rang, stopped, rang again and kept ringing, right through the supra quae propitio, until I was sure that either one of the boys had ended up under a tractor, or the sisters were calling to announce the birth of our expected calf. I made up my mind that if, when I looked at a clock, I found that the phone call had come just at eight, it had been the Franciscans, who would have had to stop trying to reach us at that hour because their own Mass would begin then.
Halfway through our eggs the phone rang again. In honor of the day – Fr. Vincent’s fiftieth jubilee – we named the sturdy black heifer Judith (his middle name is Jude), and established the unifying principle of our heifer names for 2014: Old Testament women of strength and virtue, initial ‘J’. Jemima, Jerusha, Johanna, Julia, Junia – the possibilities are many. Mother and daughter were still in with the dry cows, from where we were to have moved them before the calving but the time got away from us. It is a quarter mile to the front pasture where the lactating cows are paddocked, farther than the calf could walk and considerably farther than we wanted to carry her, so we loaded her into the back of the farm vehicle (shabby green Saturn) with a small child; the first-time mother trotted anxiously alongside, poking a nose through the window at intervals to make sure that her baby was really there. Delphinium — ‘Delphi’ for common use – is shaping to be a good mother, and an easy milker.