A long time ago the Lyons family had a big herd of cows. In that herd there was a very special cow. The humans knew her as Number 11, but the rest of the herd called her Boss.
In the winter of 1986-7, the Lyons family sold all the cows and just Brad and I continued to farm here. I insisted we kept old Number 11.
For the first time in her life Number 11 had no one to call her boss. She was totally alone.
She wasn't alone for long though. One of the bulls left her with a going away present. In March of 1987, Number 11 gave birth to Buttercup.
That Spring a neighbor surprised us by dropping off a nice Charolais bull. Number 11 continued to add to her growing family. Besides Buttercup she had Primrose, Daisy and a bull calf which we traded for a heifer calf.
Even the best cows don't last forever and Number 11 went down hill fast one winter. If she turned too quick in the feeder, she would fall over. The vet told me she had arthritis in her hips. Then her ear fell off. Not the whole thing, but about half off it. I decided to run her in and put nice straw down in a barn to keep her comfortable. But Number 11 was a range cow and didn't seek shelter in the barn. The rock wall gave her some shelter though...but her other ear fell off. The vet said as long as she can still get up she should be okay, but as soon as she went down for the last time he may have to do a C. Section to save her calf.
The months went by and still old Number 11 could get up. Then one Saturday morning, March 2nd 1991, Brad came in and told me Number 11 was down and not getting up anymore. But that darling old cow done her duty...she had given birth to a large healthy heifer.
I went to the corrals and saw a pitiful sight. Her calf was un-licked and wet. It was so cold that morning there was still some snow on the ground. Number 11 called her calf to go to her so she could dry her. I threw towels over the calf and got her in the barn. The vet came and said Number 11 not only had a prolapsed uterus, but her hip was dislocated as well. He could not fix her hip and so she was put to sleep right there in the corral. Before she left this world, Brad milked her for the valuable colostrum and I pushed the calf over to her so 11 could lick her legs. I told number 11 I would raise her calf like one of my own and she was not to worry.
Soon as the calf got her mothers milk she ran and bucked with joy. All Number 11's calves were born big and strong. I called the calf Dandylyons and raised her like one of my own......the best I could anyway.
Dandylyons had a wonderful calfhood. She went on lots of walks and lived in the stall next to Foxsun. Here is my mum with Dandylyons. We were heading out on a hike.
Dandylyons only was on a leash near the road. On hikes, she never let me out of her sight.
When I walked her through the herd she would hide behind me as the cows rushed to see why a calf was walking with a human.
This is her first birthday.
Here she is with the only calf she accepted. She only had three or four calves and this was her last. Foxsun was a good step dad.
This picture of me and Dandylyons was taken in 1993.
Dandylyons was 21 years old a few weeks ago and she is back living in the horse pasture and horse barn, where she gets warm water, good grub and shelter. She's been toothless for awhile now and walks slower each day it seems. When I led her over to the horse barn she picked up pace in anticipation of seeing her old friend Foxsun. I told her one day she'll see Foxsun again....hopefully not for a few more years.