Leonard The Bull Calf

While our niece Emily and nephew Sid were here for a week-long visit over winter vacation, we managed a lot of time outdoors. A recent ice storm and subsequent snowfall in Oklahoma provided excellent conditions for some Hillbilly skiing and sledding, and for finding clues in the fresh snow, such as animal tracks and scat, of recent visitors to our own woodlands. One calm evening, we enjoyed a few hours by the fire pit, roasting hot dogs and eating S’mores while watching the stars make their appearance. Another day, we hiked to the river where we followed various animal tracks and sat on the riverbank enjoying the sound of the water flowing lazily by, as vast clouds of Brewer’s Blackbirds or perhaps European Starlings whispered in flight overhead. Sid enjoyed breaking ice on watery ruts in a nearby field and, at the river, he heaved wood debris into the water. Em seemed more meditative about her experience with nature, sitting cross-legged at the river’s edge and taking photographs. Clearly, though, the most fascinating aspect of our outdoor time was the lure of the pecan orchard and a little miracle that had taken place there.

On one of our walks to the river, we noticed several cows with big, round bellies as we made our way through the pecan orchard. One cow in particular boasted an udder that looked as if she would calve soon. She was a friendly sort of cow, and actually let Em get fairly close to her, but eventually trotted off to be with the rest of the herd. The next day, Emily and I spent a few hours in the pecan orchard picking pecans for her to take home. The cows were curious and came near us, but that cow with the burgeoning udder was still as big as a house. There was no baby yet but, by the looks of her, we were sure it would come any day!

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The little bull calf was just a few hours old in these photos. That is one big yawn for a little fella!
The little bull calf was just a few hours old in these photos. That is one big yawn for a little fella!

With my sister Jules and her husband Chris just a couple of hours away, we were all up bright and early the next morning, as I wanted the kids to be halfway packed and ready when their parents arrived. I knew Jules and Chris wanted to make it back home to Nebraska by nightfall and would only have time for a short visit. But Emily had other plans. She insisted on heading to the pecan orchard to see if that cow had her calf yet. So, Em and Sid and I donned our heavy winter gear and headed the short distance to the pecan orchard. Of course the cows were all grazing well off to the north, so we had a lot of walking to do. Carrying my camera and zoom lens, I scanned the distance for the white cow with the big udder. But before I found her, I saw a little lump of white with black speckles, lying on the ground ahead.  Just behind a large pecan tree, mama was grazing nearby. I guessed he could not have been but a few hours old because, when he finally did get up, the little calf was a bit unsteady and wobbly on his legs. I suppose we sat there more than an hour before I declared we really needed to get back home where Jules and Chris were, probably not-so-patiently, waiting to head out for home. Before they left, I promised Emily that I would keep her posted about the progress of the little bull calf.

Leonard is always close by his mama.
Leonard is always close by his mama.
Leonard's mother spends a lot of time keeping her boy clean and bonding with him.
Leonard’s mama isn’t the only cow that gives him a lick to keep him clean! Maybe this is his auntie!
Leonard mutual grooms his mama.
Leonard mutual grooms his auntie or maybe he’s giving her a good sniff.
Leonard is well camouflaged behind his mama.
Leonard is well camouflaged behind his mama.

After a couple of days, Emily decided our little friend needed a name. His eye markings reminded me of  Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock in Star Trek, so I thought maybe we would call him Spock. But Emily preferred only,”Leonard”, which… after I conferred with my sister Jules, we got to laughing so hard that somehow Leonard the Bull seemed quite appropriate actually. I looked up a few definitions for the name Leonard, and found “Lion, Brave, Hardy, and even Lover”. All of these did seem to be excellent characteristics of a bull!

Leonard tries to nab a bite of hay hanging from his mother's mouth.
Leonard tries to nab a bite of hay hanging from his mother’s mouth.
Leonard is always near his mama.
Leonard is always near his mama.
I see Leonard darting all over the pecan orchard in the mornings as the herd heads to the west.
I see Leonard darting all over the pecan orchard in the mornings as the herd heads to the west.
Leonard is a little more than a month old in this photo.
Leonard is a little more than a month old in this photo.

I will continue to check on this little fella over the spring and summer months. All my observations of him so far, show me that Leonard is just like any energetic youngster. I cannot tell you the number of times I have seen him scampering through the pecan orchard, starting with a little bucking action, then taking off running at full speed with his tail straight up in the air!  But like a lot of little boys, he is also quite fond of his mama, and most of the time he is lying somewhere near her, making sure she does not get too far away.

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© 2016 Day by Day the Farm Girl Way…


37 thoughts on “Leonard The Bull Calf

  1. He is darling. Looks like he had a tussle with a bottle of ink. I would like to hug him if I didn’t think the results might put me in the hospital. Thanks for bringing this joy into my decidedly non-agrarian, urban, Italian life.

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    1. Leonard is a shy sweetie, Charlotte! I am hoping to follow the cows around at least once a week and see if I can earn their trust a little more. Your comment about a “tussle with a bottle of ink” is hilarious. He really does have a splattered look! 😀

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  2. Those EYES! Wow, what a lady killer Leonard will be! I’m sure having Leonard to follow over the winter would be a welcome highlight for you. Winter can be a bit bleak. Lovely post, thanks Lori!

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    1. Thank you, Cecilia! I’m looking forward to spending time with Leonard and his mama. The other cows should be calving soon too. I might have all kinds of activity to photograph!

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    1. There is another white cow with black speckles (#90 who I called “auntie”) expecting too, so it will be interesting to see what her calf will look like. There are brown speckled cows as well. I might be very busy keeping up with all of the new youngsters in the herd this spring and summer! 😀

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    1. I hope he will be a baby maker, but I do not ask. I just enjoy them all for the moment. The pecan orchard neighbor has other pasture ground and it could be that he moves livestock from time to time. It looks like though, that Leonard will at the very least, be around while he needs his mama’s milk! 😀

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  3. Leonard is a perfect name – both for the Dr Spock likeness and the original meaning. I thought Dr Spock as soon as I saw his face. He’s a gorgeous bull. I’ve not seen markings like that before. I’m glad Em got to see him before she left. I’ve seen a lot of sheep, goats and cattle being born but I don’t think the wonder of it has really worn off. The process of birth still seems like a miracle to me. All that prolonged effort and pain and the blood and gore and then the little wobbly creature seems like it will never be able to stand properly. Within a short while though it’s up on its hooves and suckling. Amazing to watch. Thank you for another beautiful post from the farm, Lori. Your words and pictures are always a special treat. 🙂

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    1. I hoped that we would have been able to observe a birth… but nature has its own rhythm. I think I’ve pinned Daisy Deer’s births to the wee hours of the morning, and usually during a rain. It makes sense of course – the rain washing all evidence of the birth away. It could have been the same for Leonard, as he appeared to be an early morning birth. Those legs were still wobbly and not quite in sync, but he wasn’t about to let mama get too far away. And like Daisy, Leonard’s mama made a low and gentle moo to prompt him to follow. You’re right too, that the birthing process is such a miracle. Maybe one of these years I will be fortunate to witness Daisy give birth. I sure hope so! 🙂 Thank you, Jane, for your always wonderful comments. I hope you are healing and feeling better by now. I am ready for you to take more adventurous hikes and write about them! 😀

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  4. Leonard is adorable! I really love that picture of him walking beside his mama in the field. And I can easily see how he looks a bit like Dr. Spock too. It would be so cool if you could capture some video of him gamboling around in the fields…. 🙂

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  5. That is the most striking little calf. An early one. Those little noses – they are so funny (and wet once they get used to you – they are so nosy – but he’s not a pet. My uncle always told us not to treat them as a pet, they were cows…but still. Sooo cute! You just can’t help it. Look at those little hides.)
    Mooving post!

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    1. Yes, quite nosy. I went to pick pecans a couple of weeks ago and had two five-gallon buckets with me. The herd moved in, curious I guess about possible feed in the buckets. I finally left one bucket for them to nose around and did they ever have a time! They still followed me around and when they got too close I just spoke to them and offered a head scratch or massage, and they backed up! Ha ha. I only ended up with half of one bucket of pecans. I gave up trying to pick pecans yet keep the cows at bay. 😦

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  6. I must say, Sister, that Leonard is the most handsome calf I’ve ever seen; his markings are so unusual. His eyes do remind one of Dr Spock, and so Leonard was a perfect choice for his name; I love it! You have captured so many amazing photos of this little guy, I think my favorite is where he is “mutual grooming,” so sweet! I’m so glad Em and Sid got the chance to explore and learn more about the beautiful outdoors that your area has to offer. And what a wonderful surprise to see little Leonard the last morning they were there!! Beautiful post, Sister!!

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    1. Thank you, Jules. Em and Sid are great kids. They’re kind, respectful and helpful. That’s not something I see much of with young people today, but when I do, I’m sure to comment about it. Just this week a Native American boy, who appeared to be about 10 years old, opened the door for me at the post office! I thanked him and he smiled big. What a cool kid! I cherished every moment with Em and Sid. Each time you come to visit us, those kids are the ones who want to explore and get out in nature – it’s just flabbergasting to me. We really need to make sure the kids come in the spring or summer months when there is a lot more to explore around here. I want to climb Mount Scott before I’m too old! I think they’d love that!!

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  7. A baby calf is always cute, but Leonard will now and forever be the standard of cute in my mind! Now I want one. 😀

    NOTES TO SELF: Baby bulls are not pets. He is too beautiful for steak and roast. He will grow up. He will get REALLY big. He can hurt me! (Sigh) 😦

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    1. Ha ha!! Lynda, I never think about bulls being dangerous. When I walk through the pecan orchard I generally stay a distance as I don’t want to interfere with them. And, as I’ve found with most any species of mammal, they give clear indication of attacking, via body language, if they feel anxious or threatened.

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      1. Lori, when I was a kid we were always warned off of entering any pasture where the bull(s) were. We were told they could attack and were very dangerous. Now that this is imprinted in my brain I doubt I could sneak through as he, the bull, would read my scent of fear and most certainly get me. 😯

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        1. When I was a kid we only had one bull, Charlie. And, like you, we were warned to keep away from him and NEVER to go in his pen. I guess I was more curious… so were my siblings. One at a time, we’d jump the fence and walk slowly out in Charlie’s pen, and we’d run like hell if he even gave us a look! Charlie never seemed to be bothered by us, and the only injuries we endured were our own fault from scrambling over the fence!

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