Monday, May 26, 2014:
Memorial Day.
Judith, the new heifer calf, is the subject of jealousy among the three lactating cows, with SugarPlum by far the most aggressive of the mothers-elect, shoving her body between Delphi and the baby when the calf wants to nurse. We have seen the little one on all three of the cows, but she does seem to spend the most time with her real mother, which is good: only Delphi can give her colostrum, a calf’s first food, nutrition and immunities and emetic all in one.
Cutting a locust tree up on the hill we remembered all the reasons for carefully calculating where it will drop. This one was dead, the few branches at the top looking corky and rotten, and we decided – incorrectly – that they would give way when they hit the neighboring beech tree, in the branches of which the tree was embraced. Not so. An hour with a come-along left a zig-zag of deep grooves in the rich forest mould, and the seventy-foot tree still snagged in the top of its neighbor. Time was getting on for milking when with a last two or three cranks on the winch the trunk, high up where it was most narrow and decayed, sagged, groaned, and with a rush like water over a precipice, snapped and fell. The sound was, as we have heard it described somewhere, “disastrous.” We cut two eight foot posts from the widest part, for the gate to the pig pen, and one fourteen footer for the run-in shed. The rest is fence posts, and, probably, firewood.