From Pipi’s Pasture: Sarah’s Twins
Diane Prather/For Craig Press
This has been a challenging calving season at Pipi’s Pasture—much different than what we have been used to. But there are positives, too, and I’ve decided to write about one of them this week. This positive involves my twin cows and their mother, Sarah.
I’ve written about my twins before when they were born. It’s been about four years now—maybe five. After I wrote about them I was surprised when people stopped me and asked, “How is Sarah?” and then, “And how are the twins?”
They were just fine and still are. Sarah is 24 years old now. She’s a light red Simmental cow that, over the years, has given birth to a lot of calves but just one set of twins—her last calves. I remember the morning that they were born.
I knew Sarah was going to calve; I was actually surprised because I had thought she wouldn’t have anymore. I checked her during the night, and early the next morning I found her with a calf. They were along the fence that divides the garden from the pasture. I didn’t see a problem so I left them and went back to the house. I planned to check on them a little later. I didn’t dream that there would be another calf.
A couple of hours later I found the calf up. It had nursed and was quite lively. But to my surprise, there was another calf now, too. Both calves were a light gray color and were identical except that twin number one had more white on her face. Twin number tow had not gotten up yet. Her front feet were turned back a little bit, not unusual for calves that don’t have much room to spread out. She held her neck to one side, too—as though it were crooked.
I knew that I needed to get Sarah and the calves into the corral where they could get used to being together. I managed to herd twin number one in that direction. Sarah followed, and I put them in the back part of the corral.
As I closed the gate I was surprised to see that twin number two had gotten up and was hurrying in my direction as fast as her partially turned back legs would allow. The sight of the little one with her crooked neck and hobbling legs was one that I have never forgotten—such determination! She fell down at the gate and crawled under it.
I named twin number two “Cricket”, for her crooked neck, and twin number one “Jiminy.” In time, Cricket’s neck straightened out. Sarah raised both twins. They have thrived and have raised calves of their own, under Sarah’s loving supervision.
So that brings us to this year. Both cows have chunky bull calves of about the same size. One is gray, with a white face; the other a light red, with a small white mark on his face. As I put hay off the feed trailer each morning, I enjoy watching my nearly identical twin mothers as they push their way around the trailer in search of hay leaves, and their calves run alongside. (One of the calves rode on the trailer with me yesterday morning.) It brings back memories of the year Sarah gave birth to her twins.