And then there was one. Just one boy left in the house while his brothers are at school. Anthony is three and so proud to put on his little overalls and wellies (both hand me downs) and follow behind Daddy and at times Mommy to feed the baby calves.
“They’re so cute Mommy.” he tells me with just his lovely face exposed to the frosty February morning. While I try to persuade a new calf to drink some milk, Anthony puts his hand into the calf pen and breaks into giggles at another calf all but swallowing his arm.
“Look Mommy, he’s trying to eat me.”
“He won’t eat you pet. He’s just trying to drink you. He wants his milk. Just like when you’re thirsty.” smiling whilst also trying to get a point across. Patience is a virtue my child, we too, sometimes have to wait for our milk, yoghurt, biscuit, banana etc. Ahem.
Then it’s time to change the bedding. And he toddles on behind me carrying a handful of straw leaving a trail of yellow after him arriving into the calf house with but a strand or two left in hand. “Where’s it gone Mommy?” I can’t imagine.
“Here, have some of mine.”
“Can I throw it in Mommy?”
“Yes, we’ll get in. You stay next to me and we’ll throw the straw around the baby calves.”
And then comes more giggles as the straw-coloured-hair boy swishes the bedding over the calves, while the new born calves with their tummies full of milk enjoy the swirl of new straw around them for playtime. They bounce, yes bounce around their home with the energy and enthusiasm mostly reserved for calves and three year olds. I pick my boy up and we watch as the young calves puck and jump their way through their morning routine.
“Just like the brothers” my young boy says thinking of his brothers down the road in school. “Just like the brothers,” I repeat, applying big kisses to his rosy cheek. He then holds my hand as we go on with our task carrying our bucket of milk onto the next calf pen.
Springtime has most certainly reached Hearthill. At last.