From Pipi’s Pasture: A tribute to Sarah
Last week I lost Sarah. She was 30 years old, which some have suggested is about 90 years for humans. Sarah was a light orange-red Simmental cow that I cared for since she was about two months old and her mother died.
I put Sarah with Pipi (Pipi’s Pasture bears her name), a calf I was feeding on the bottle. Sarah was too old to “catch onto” bottle feeding so she got a grain with milk supplement instead. She and Pipi became fast friends and thrived. The next year they became mothers themselves.
Neither heifer had trouble calving. Pipi was first, and she and her calf joined the rest of the herd on the feedlot. Before long, Sarah had her calf, too. I remember the morning that Sarah and her calf headed down the lane that led to the feedlot. Pipi came running up to the gate to greet her friend and get a look at the calf.
Sarah and Pipi were together all of the years that we lived north of Craig and when we moved to Pipi’s Pasture. They enjoyed summers on high pasture where there was plenty of grass, water, and shade. They were at Pipi’s Pasture in the winters and for calving season in the spring. Pipi died a few years ago, but Sarah has lived on.
Sarah had a very gentle disposition and “talked” to me, using quiet “moos” when she wanted something. She loved grain, so if I started across the pasture with a bucket or anything else that might have contained grain, she was right there. Sarah had a “determined” side to her, too, and could get “feisty” with other cows.
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The Longevity Project is an annual campaign to help educate readers about what it takes to live a long, fulfilling life in our valley. This year Kevin shares his story of hope and celebration of life with his presentation Cracked, Not Broken as we explore the critical and relevant topic of mental health.
Sarah’s white face left her susceptible to cancer eye. One summer I noticed a spot on her eye. By the time she came home from summer pasture it was evident that she had cancer eye. Dr. Wayne Davis removed the eye and sewed the opening shut. I can remember that he took a look at my worried expression and said, “Don’t worry. We got it.” He did, too, and that was some 15 years ago. The operation saved her life.
Sarah also had a white bag, susceptible to chapping during the spring when days are windy and cold. Understandably, a cow with a sore bag tends to kick her calf. Usually cows have to be put in a chute for treatment but not Sarah. I could walk out onto the pasture with a can of bag balm and rub the salve onto her bag.
Sarah gave birth to many beautiful calves, some which became replacement cows, and she had lots of milk to feed them. The last time she gave birth was to a set of nearly identical twins — Jiminy and Cricket. I have written much about them, so much so that when walking by a table in a restaurant one day, I was surprised when one of the diners asked, “How is Sarah? And — how are the twins?”
In her last days, Sarah had a big pen to herself where she didn’t have to compete with others for feed. I curried the old hair off her body, dusted her for flies, and fed her grain and hay that wasn’t too coarse. She “mooed” to me, asking for more grain, pushed me out of the way to search for leaves in the hay, and I wondered how 30 years could have passed so quickly.
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