Follow along with our young family's rehomesteading adventures!

It’s been almost three and a half months since Dolly’s calf has made an appearance and while it’s almost no time at all, it feels like he’s been a part of our farm for as long as I can remember. Funny enough, he was born the day Jack’s company started its six-week paternity leave program. Too bad it only applies to human babies, not livestock.

One of these bovines is not like the others…

We eventually settled on the name Woody, as a subtle pun between him and his mother. Dolly came with a name but her first calf did not, so he ended up with the name of Parton (haha…get it? Dolly and Parton?). So, to continue with tradition, her second calf with us is a nod to Dollywood (heehee…we’re so clever).


Woody had a bit of a rough start to his earthly existence. He was plenty big when he was born, thanks to his Angus dad, but he caught a case of navel ail. Basically, his umbilical cord got infected, which honestly, isn’t a surprise. Cows don’t exactly care where or what they lay in. I noticed his runny nose, tearing eyes, and how cloudy his irises started looking. Out came the vet and we wrangled him for his first round of antibiotics and vitamins. He left me with several syringes and told me to repeat the process for the next several days. Since all the exciting stuff happens when Jack is out of town, that meant I got to wrassle Woody all by myself every afternoon and jab him with some meds. By the end of all the close interaction, we were actually quite good friends.


That didn’t mean he necessarily trusted anyone else though. Props to the kids for trying to tame the beast.


Woody recovered nicely, with no residual cloudiness or other ill-effects from his short-lived sickness. He quickly went back to hanging out with his mom, tailing Parton everywhere he goes, and wondering if the horses are, in fact, larger, more colorful cattle.


The only other unpleasant experience of Woody’s short life was being castrated. When the twin cousins were visiting, I had Jack, my sister, and my brother-in-law help band Woody. As big as that calf is, it took all of us to hold him down and do the deed because he was quite certain he wanted to grow up as a bull. Since I don’t want a bull around right now, his manhood had to go. Thank goodness we talked about it once in college in one of my animal science classes, though I never got any hands-on experience. There’s a first time for everything! It wasn’t too terrible (well, maybe not for Woody), and I’m happy to report, Woody is now a steer instead of a bull.

Hanging out with mom.

I do really love having baby animals around. They’re so cute, always looking for someone to play with, aren’t old enough to be ornery, and a lot of their mannerisms remind me of my own kids. Woody certainly fits the bill as an adorable calf! Makes me want more baby animals…

What a big boy, eating grass all on his own.



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True stories of raising children, remodeling, braving the elements and plotting out life, all while living on a humble acreage in central Indiana.

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