By Evan Maietta, age 14
For those of you who follow farm camp, or anything Jo Erl Farm related for that matter, you have most likely heard of our beloved Jersey Mezzie. For those of you who have not heard of our farm favorite, Mezzie is our four year old Jersey dairy cow. She was rescued on Thanksgiving day 2011, when Laura got a call from animal control in an area town saying that she had an 8 month old cow that needed a good home; Laura’s generous brother Dave dropped everything to go pick her up. It seems her previous owner was neglecting her basic needs. She was kept in a garage with some ducks and goats as her not-so-pleasant roommates.
This winter is very big for Mezzie. She will be having her first calf in a short amount of time… we think. It could be hours, days, or even weeks before the calf is born; we just know that when it does happen, we want to be prepared. The temperature forecasts for the next few days are how we say in New England, “wicked cold,” as in, nearly negative temperatures, even before you factor in the wind chill. Needless to say, we felt bad for our poor girl. Normally, if not bred, she would be fine in our free-stall barn with the other cows, coming and going as she pleases to the pasture, with a heated waterer and round bale feeder all set up for on-demand feeding. But a wet newborn calf exposed to the elements if born outside might be in danger.
Tonight we decided that the time was right, so we cleaned out the cozy and warmer side of the enclosed dairy barn in which we house the spring chicks. We swept the floor, washed out the food and water bins, and put down some fresh bedding so Mezzie and her baby can be cozy and warm in this frigid weather. We had a slight hesitation to even try to bring her in for the night, seeing as it was only Laura, myself, Zach and Ben working. But we figured that we might as well try and if it didn’t work we could enlist Ed’s help the next day.
We had a quick meeting, almost as fast as football players in the huddle, and put together the plan to action. I took Zach and Ben down to the free stall barn to distract the others while Laura stood inside the newly set up spot with a flake of hay, softly rustling the hay and calling Mezzie’s name, trying not to call the others along with her. At first we were all weary of the plan, thinking it wouldn’t work, but all of a sudden, Mezzie left the herd, walking toward where Laura was stationed. I quickly grabbed a handful of hay and walked calmly beside her, bribing her with the clump of hay so she would come closer to her new “five star hotel room.” Surprisingly, after I went in, she ran inside to snag the pile of hay laying on the barn floor.
Laura and I exchanged a quick glance and just by that look we both knew exactly what we were saying. I ran outside and around the side of the barn, over the rock wall, and to the door which Mezzie had just taken her last step into. I calm walked in and quietly closed the door behind me as to keep Mezzie in, but not stress her more than we needed to. Currently, Mezzie is kicking back and relaxing, munching on some hay, awaiting her baby to finally come. If I had to guess I’d say that we’re more excited/anxious/worried about this baby then Mezzie is herself!