Monday, March 5, 2007

Frieland LV Dixie

My mom recently took a picture of my baby brother (who is over a half a foot taller than me now, blasted kid) sitting on his show cow, Bayberry, in the barn. To say the least it brought back memories of another little black and white cow that I used to do the same thing to.

Frieland LV Dixie was probably one of the best cows I ever had, though my mom actually bred her. Sweet and gentle to a fault, you could do just about anything with that ole girl. She went to probably two dozen or more fairs from the time she was a strapping summer yearling to a seven year old aged cow. She was trucked from Cooperstown to OHM Club show to Fonda, and then all the way out to Altamont. She and I stood anywhere from dead last to Reserve Supreme Champion. I learned a lot with that old beast, from how to lose well and be happy for those that won, to how to graciously accept the long blue ribbons and congratulations from all of our friends.

Mom has pictures of me from that first year when we went to Cooperstown Junior Livestock show. I was so tiny even with her only being a yearling that you can just see me peeking over her top line in the one photo. That was probably the first really good show year I ever had, and I think I was maybe 9 or 10. I started showing when I was six, and spent a lot of time holding up the lower end of the placings. My siblings and I learned to laugh it off and would often joke when we got back to the show barns. Alan said it best once, when he came back to the tent with his calf Balsam (who is actually Bay’s Momma). When asked how he had done he calmly replied ‘I came in first’, and after the shocked and happy appearances on everyone’s faces (Balsam was a decent sized Feb calf in a class with MAMMOTH Dec babies), he added in with a big grin ‘From last’.

That first year at Cooperstown I took reserve master showman for my age division, and third place summer yearling in the calf classes. Dixie was actually beaten by a heifer that would go on to be classified EX-97 5E with several sons in AI stud and multiple All American nominations and All New York championships. Not too shabby for our little herd, that is one ‘loss’ that is well worth it, just to stand in the same line up as another future national’s cow.

In all honesty, that year probably should have been Dixie’s last on the show circuit. She wasn’t as ‘big’ as what was needed to be a top animal in the ring, and she wouldn’t ‘bag up’ when we were getting her ready prior to the show. So much as go NEAR her with a halter and whoosh, she let her milk down right away. We spent a lot of years dead last at Altamont, but she was such a darling that I simply couldn’t leave her home. She would just know when it was show time, and would stare at our CornPro trailer, like, come on, let’s get loaded up and GO already! On top of that, she was HYSTERICAL at the fairs. That cow was like a walking garbage can. If it looked or smelled even remotely like food, she would eat it. Anything and Everything. Pizza, lemonade, heck, French fries. She loved ‘em all.

And so every year she went.

Then when she was 5, we stood first in the class. I was shocked, and we later came back for high honorable mention in the Senior Championship. Then the next year, first place aged cow, Reserve Senior Champion, High Honorable Mention Supreme Champion, Best Uddered Holstein Female. We came back the next summer to be named Senior and Grand Champion Holstein Cow, then we were a very very close Reserve Supreme Champion. The Jersey cow that took the top spot was a little older, and looked a little bit better in the feet and legs, which took her up to the top spot. The icing on the cake that year was coming in with another animal for High Honorable Mention for Senior Champion in the same division (Lizzie(the cow) I bought at the Coby Fashion Sale for $525.00 as about a five or six hour old calf two years before, not too bad an investment, now if only I could have ever gotten her to have another calf).

We lost Dixie the next spring. She got milk fever before she even calved, and we just couldn’t bring her around, and even if we had, she had ripped the tendon in the back of her left leg in half, and probably would never have been able to walk well again. The only high note about it was that she dropped a gorgeous little Eland heifer, who is due back on the 24th of May, two days before I’ll turn 21. Dixie was a classy cow right up to the end. I simply couldn’t make the decision to put her down and end the suffering she was going through, though I probably should have called it quits after about the second day. But I always would have second guessed myself and wondered if MAYBE just maybe she would have come around and gotten better, so I told my parents to make that choice. That Thursday morning they reached the conclusion that it would be better for her if she didn’t go on any further. It was like she knew they told me that night, because she looked up into the barn, mooed at them, and five minutes later was gone. She’s buried up behind the barn in the pasture that runs near the creek. The guys down at the local dealership were even kind enough to rent my dad an emergency dozer to dig her a good deep hole so that the coyotes and such couldn't get at her body.

I’ll forever miss her, but everything has it’s time, and I guess it was just hers. It's coming up on four years now since we lost her, and to this day I still wish she was standing back in the second from last stall in the barn, with a look on her face asking, 'Isn't it fair time yet?'


nyvolfan said...

Nice post. I remember her fondly from the Altamont shows.

Paintsmh said...

Hi big brother. I miss you! Glad you liked my posts. I was surpised this summer when some of the older ladies from the fair asked me why I hadn't been bringing her. I'm glad you have fond memories of her. Now if you would have just taken her in the ring that one time...
Lots of love from yer baby sis!

Breezey375 said...

God, you just love making me cry don't you? I LOVED that old cow... We need another pretzel vacuum, Lizzy.

Paintsmh said...

Oh, yeah we kinda do. Blitz seems to be somewhat willing to step up to the 'plate' though. At least, she does like pizza.
And we ALL loved that ole cow!