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Follow organic dairy farmer Jonathan Gates as he reports weekly from his Vermont family farm. Howmars Farm is a certified organic dairy farm, one of many Organic Valley/CROPP Cooperative farmer members who supply the milk that goes into making Stonyfield's yogurts and smoothies. The entire family pitches in on this third-generation farm. Check out some of the happenings on his farm and post your comments. Jonathan loves to get feedback from readers.

A new calf goes four-wheeling

I was mowing the lawn after dinner last night when Dad came up the road and asked me if I knew a cow had calved out in the pasture. I knew a cow was due to calve today so I assumed it was her. I told Dad once Ben got back from cross-country practice we would go down and get the cow and calf. Of course the cow was at the furthest point from the barn.

Ben had a quick bite when he got home and then we headed down to the pasture on the four-wheeler. It was one of those really warm, calm July evenings and a crescent moon was hanging low in the western sky. As we drove down the pasture lane the air was heavy with the scent of the flowering plants lining the sides of the lane. All the dry cows were crowded around the new mom and calf. The cow was the one due today, Queenie. We were very happy to see that the new calf was a heifer. We placed the calf in the basket on the back of the four-wheeler. As Ben drove the four-wheeler back to the barn I walked behind holding the frisky heifer in the basket. Queenie followed along right at our heels, not letting her calf out of her sight. When we got to the pasture gate I had to drive a couple of the other very "maternal feeling" dry cows back down the lane.

Queenie followed us right up to the front of the barn, and when Ben scooped up the calf in his arms and went through the barn door, Queenie followed them right in to the pen. We made sure Queenie had fresh water, hay, and grain before parking the four-wheeler.and heading to the house. Before going to bed, I went down to check on the new mom and her baby. They were all set for the night.

--Jonathan, Howmars Farm
Franklin, Vermont


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