We’ve always been a bit fascinated with cattle and I often ask Shannon questions about TBone and cattle in general.
One day as we were talking he told me he was contemplating getting a few more calves because the price at the moment was so low.
I mentioned that I wouldn’t mind getting one also and did he think Toby would mind if I kept one in the paddock?
I was going to speak to Martyn who’s an expert (His father was a cattle buyer) and maybe go to the Goondiwindi sales at Boggabilla to get one.
I told Shannon that of course I’d need to convince Kerrie first and that may be a bit hard.
“Don’t worry about her”, he said, “Just buy it as her birthday present. Stick a bow round it’s neck and she’ll be fine”.
Well anyway two days later Shannon turned up at the kitchen looking for Kerrie.
In the back of his ute was this beautiful little female Hereford Poddy calf.
I rushed over and found Kerrie and I think she loved it as soon as she saw it.
“What are you going to do with it?” she asked Shannon.
“It’s yours,” says he.
Now a “Poddy” is an orphaned calf and usually they are “saved” by cattle farmers feeding them milk from a bottle.
Topsy had somehow managed to survive past this stage, probably by feeding off a number of the other stray adult cows. She seems to be about 6 to 8 weeks old.
She’s able to eat grass by herself and although we give her milk diluted with water she is just as happy with pure water.
Shannon and Josh had found this little orphaned calf down on the back paddocks and Shannon had chased her down on the quad bike and bought her back for us!
Well, we got her off the ute and stood her up and amazingly she just seemed completely unphased with all the humans standing around patting and stroking her even though we would have been the first humans she’d ever seen.
She is absolutely beautiful!
Her coat is shiny red with splashes of the purest white. She has that distinct Hereford face, flatish and strong looking and her teeth are perfect.
We housed her for the first night in Shannons Cattle cage and in the morning we led her around various spots on the camp grounds to find the best combination of grass and shade.
Kerrie did some research to learn the best way to handle her in the first few days.
Even though we had a makeshift halter and rope on her she just followed us as if it were the perfectly natural thing to do.
The whole farm seems to have been enchanted by her and even Shannon, who has been bought up with cattle from a baby, can’t believe how easily she has taken to humans.
She just adores being petted and rubbed and will actually trot over to us when she sees us approaching.
Merlin, one of the Estonian backpackers, wanted us to name her something “cute”.
We were going to call her Topside so the shortening to Topsy seemed to fit.
I can’t seem to keep my hands of her and she appears to not want me to.
She’s so soft and placid and her eyes would melt the hardest heart.
She’s very noisy when she can’t see us, bellowing and calling out, but as soon as someone is there she’s quiet.
Kerrie is soaking some wheat for her and Toby’s told us of a pile of cotton seed down the back of the property.
She has lots of soft juicy grass around the garden and she appears very content to be here.
Shannon believes that being as placid as she is she won’t need a lead for long but she’ll be content to just wander around the yard.
As I said she’s just beautiful!
Topsy’s been here four days now…
After four days she’s almost completely stopped bellowing except for when we first walk away from her.
She just walks to her bed at night and plonks down on her pile of hay in the Stock cart and goes to sleep almost immediately.
In the morning we go and open the door and she leasurely wanders out and follows us over to one of the many grassy spots at the camp where she eats for the next 2 hours almost non stop.
Last night I witnessed something I thought I’d never see.
Now Kerrie loves Roxy, David & Lacey’s dog, very much but even Roxy can’t get to lick Kerrie.
Well last night as Kerries saying goodnight to Topsy, bent over hugging her round the neck, the cow turns it’s head, rubs it along Kerrie’s face and sticks it’s big toungue out and licks her – on the face – AND SHE LET IT HAPPEN!
This morning I took her off the lead and let her explore of her own accord and she had no interest in wandering away.
She just kept close to the camp and finally planted herself outside my office door where I was working.
Every now and then she looks up to make sure I’m still here and then goes back to sleepily chewing her cud.
The guys over at the workshop are ragging Kerrie as she tells them how Topsy prefers this type of grass over that and how she lets us know when she wants water.
They’re asking her how she’s going to get the cow up the steps of the workshop while she’s at work when she’s 300 kilos!
Even Martyn is amused by our city slicker approach to cows.
His comment was, “You wont be so F—–g soft when she’s 300-400 kg and running through the caravan annexe!”
Sarah, Martyn’s wife, on the other hand fully understands.
She’s a farm girl from St George and has grown up with cows but loves them as pets.
She has a pet steer called Solly (Solitude) that’s now huge but no matter how long she’s away from the farm Solly will spot her and come running over and try to wrap himself around her.
I get the feeling that the country people are more amused at us than at the cow.