The calving season officially ended a couple weeks ago after a long and protracted month of analyzing every indication of impending birth that Candy might rave demonstrated. Her only calf till now died at birth and we don’t know the details or the why of it because she didn’t belong to us at the time.e
It made me one nervous lady!
While all 3 other Jersey births we’ve had on our farm have come a couple weeks early, not so with Candy. She hit her due date right on the mark… and calved 5 minutes before I got home from a little morning excursion.
I checked her on my way out the driveway and there was no change. We’d be gone only 2 hours, we’d be good. I jumped out of the van the second we got home and ran to the barn window and peeked in on her. There stood Candy with the new pullets pecking around in her bedding for some random specks of grain.
“Oh, look Bill. Candy had a baby… 6 of them….BILL. CANDY HAD HER BABY!”
When my eyes adjusted to the dark, I saw a little calf lying in front of her and the comment I originally made in jest about the pullets was true!
The little thing was sopping wet. If it had been born 5 minutes before, I’d have been surprised. We literally had just missed it!
Thankfully, both mama and babe had done well. I parked myself there to observe when the calf first drank. We were nervous going into this birth for another reason. When we dried Candy up, there were a few reports that the children made that she was letting the other cows calves suck on her. Not having had a calf before, I didn’t believe them till I saw it myself. We were diligent about keeping her separated till she calved, but still I was worried that there wouldn’t be enough colostrum for this calf.
As I observed them, I realized that while she was making the sweet low sounds at her baby, she wasn’t really licking it. Before long, the calf was shivering furiously so I grabbed a blanket to dry it off. Whenever I did, Candy took the hint and did some licking. When I stopped, so did she.
I was glad for the opportunity to get my hands on her anyway and take a peek between those back legs. There was no way we were 3/3 on heifers this year and with Candy being as small a Jersey as she is, it seems like poor economic sense for us to feed out one of her bulls on such limited acreage. But I was wrong and it turned out all 3 cows freshened with heifers this year!! Can you believe it?
Over the next couple hours, Candy & I got her dry, the bedding was changed, Candy got a little treat, and the calf made a few attempts to stand but kept slipping on concrete under her bedding. As we approached the two-hour mark, she had yet to stand but had only managed to wear herself out. I let her rest awhile and then decided to get her on her feet and help her find her balance.
It was done easily and then we were able to get her a bottle of Holly’s colostrum (just in case.) She was greedy for more, but I was hoping she’d learn about the free milk her mama had on tap and guided her along in that direction. She was no Annie and tried to get right down to business. But Candy kept kicking her off! So far as mama’s go, Candy’s grade sheet wasn’t looking good.
Eating her Placenta: C
PostPartum Aggression: A-
We put the Kant Kick on her and the calf was able to drink to her heart’s content that way. We gave her one more bottle of colostrum later though, just in case. Generally, Candy was good about me handling the calf. She wasn’t too sure how she felt about my bottle feeding her. She interfered just enough to be irritating, but the job got done. I gave her a C on placenta eating, because she tried for well over an hour (was it 2?) to get it down, but it didn’t end up happening.
The new little heifer we named Honey. An appropriately sweet name for Candy’s sweet calf. She was introduced to the halter last night and while she doesn’t run from it as much as Daisy or kick once it’s on as much as Annie, she didn’t seem to care too much for it. Not that I’ve met a calf that does.
Let’s celebrate three for three heifer births on the homestead, shall we?
What better way to celebrate than with cake?! And what better way to commemorate than with Milk and Honey Cupcakes?!
They’re so darn tasty they’re worthy of celebrating all on their own, but we’ll have an actual occasion to excuse the indulgence, shall we? You can bet that while I’m eating my Milk and Honey Cupcake, I’m dreaming about what it would be like to serve these golden treats made with our own honey. How proud I’d be! How tasty they’d be!
Milk and Honey Cupcakes
- ½ cup butter, softened
- ¾ cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 ¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 Tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup honey
- Sweet Honey Frosting
- ½ cup butter, softened
- 2 ½ cup powdered sugar, sifted
- ¼ cup honey
- ¼ cup cream cheese, softened
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin tin with cupcake papers.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip together the butter and sugar until it is light and creamy, scraping the sides every minute or so.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
- In a small bowl, whisk the buttermilk and honey together.
- Add the eggs to the creamed butter, one at a time, mixing each addition in completely. Scrape the sides and then mix in the vanilla.
- Add the flour mixture and the milk & honey mixture in turn, beginning and ending with the flour. Beat the batter for several seconds after each addition so that it gets mixed in before adding the next one. Scrape the sides between additions.
- Spoon the batter among the cupcake papers, filling them about ⅔ of the way.
- Bake for 18-22 minutes until the top springs back when lightly touched.
- When they are cool enough to touch, transfer them to a cooling rack to finish cooling before frosting.
- For the frosting, whip all of the ingredients together, adding additional powdered sugar a quarter cup at a time if it's too wet or a splash of milk or two if it's too dry. Pipe onto your cupcakes and enjoy!
What is your favorite cake to celebrate with?