The matriarch of our herd is Charisma, a stubby, black-faced Jersey who is bigger around than tall. At ten and a half years, she is the oldest cow in our herd. No one messes with her, even though most weigh more. She’s not usually bossy but this is a cow with a mission. When the girls go out to fresh pasture she is the first one in line. No one -bovine or human- stands between her and her food! She's such a good cow!
One of her daughters, Yoohoo, was born eight years ago last week. I was in the milkhouse putting the milkers together for the afternoon milking while Lisa went to bring the cows in. They were still on pasture, but we’d gotten some snow earlier in the day. Suddenly, I heard yelling and raced outside. Lisa was stumbling down the hill towards the barn carrying a very wet, floppy calf in her winter jacket and hollering “Yoohoo!” to get my attention. We eventually got the calf, momma, and numerous ever-so-curious cows in the barn. She's always been a special cow.
Another one of Charisma’s daughters is Lil Hef, which is short for Little Heifer. She was an itty bitty thing, but is now a Hef(ty) 1050 pounds and looks exactly like her mom. So much so that I confuse them occasionally. She’s still just as friendly, loves to get hugs and rub her neck up and down you. The other day I went out to the barnyard and stopped to give Hef some pets (one of my favorite things to do). I then moved closer to the water tank to watch it fill. Quietly, Hef walked over and stopped, just barely touching me. She got some time with her human; I got some time with my cow. Life is good. Lil Hef just had her first calf, Emo, and has now joined the milking herd. She's my favorite cow.
Charisma is a grandmother a few times over. One of her granddaughters wore a cow bell when she was younger since she would not stay where she was supposed to! Ella has always been an independent gal. Never rowdy or troublesome, but she has never cared about arbitrary rules and does her own thing. If the grass was greener two paddocks over that was where she would be. Electric fences meant nothing to her. The bell helped us find her. I admire her independent streak. She’s my favorite cow.
Randy Robar, co-owner of Kiss the Cow Farm