Our lives are lived in response to our experiences and cannot possibly change until we learn to react to our experiences in a manner different than we are doing now.
Ben and I got our first calves the first spring we lived here. It was the same year we got our dog, Hooli. The calves were two Holstein bull calves we got from a dairy near Lori and Micky’s place in the Gallatin Gateway area. We named the calves Riff and Raff. We kept them and Hooli together in the barn and Hooli stayed with them entirely until she got brave enough to follow us up to the studio, but she always loved the cows and whenever we left, she stayed with them. Riff got pneumonia that first winter and died, so the next spring we got a Holstein heifer calf at the livestock auction, which was held in Bozeman back in those days (ooh, did that make me sound like an old man?) and named her Izzy.
Izzy had been a roping calf, so she was tame in a wild sort of way and she had this incredibly irritating way of being endearing. Or maybe it was this endearing way of being incredibly irritating. Anyway we decided to keep her to start a little cow herd.
She instantly grew attached to Raff and one day he got into the neighbor’s herd across the east fence (Yes, the same fence the cows jumped over this spring, but in a different spot) before we realized he was gone. Ben and I both went to our clay preparation table in front of the east window to get some more clay ready for throwing on the wheel and we happened to look up in time to see Izzy bellow, walk back from the fence a few paces, turn back around, trot to the fence and jump over it. She was as graceful as a deer.
Raff was having a great time over there, since there were no other bulls in the bunch, so it took awhile to get the two back through the fence. We wondered how many surprises the rancher was going to have the following spring.
Izzy was still very young that fall when it was time for Raff to go to cow heaven, so we didn’t worry about him fathering our first home-bred calf. Izzy seemed at a loss with him gone, but our dog, Hooli worked hard to fill her loneliness.
The next spring Izzy started acting strange, avoiding us, chasing Hooli away and wandering off when we tried to get near her to see what her problem might be. Then Ben spotted a tiny Holstein calf hunkered down in the sagebrush. The next-pasture-over rancher wasn’t the only one to get a spring surprise. The calf was a heifer we named Lizzy. With Raff gone, Izzy and Lizzy were inseparable, but then Lizzy died suddenly late that summer. So Izzy learned to appreciate our dog Hooli, who was once again her only companion. Whenever we were in the studio working, Hooli was with Izzy. Sometimes that winter on a not-so-cold night we would see Hooli curled up, pressed against Izzy’s back.
Well, we don’t have any pictures of Izzy, unfortunately, so I’ll just post a few pictures of some other things.
This is a calf we got a couple of years ago, one of our favorite chores is bottle-feeding baby calves.
We got these goats from Joyce Ostrom, who sells our Dano Pottery for Dano Youth Camp. The goat in the foreground is tethered, the other three are in a portable pen which we had to move every day, since we don’t have proper fencing for goats. It was fun having them, but was a pain in the – well, you know – so we haven’t gotten any more.
This is Ben on the day we (he) started tearing down the old shack. No, he didn’t actually tear the whole thing down with a rock. He also used a sledge hammer.
Our Beloved Mountains
Whew! Are we spoiled or what?
The mountains to the west