Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Family Resemblance

When I was little, people always said I looked like my Dad. Even when I was in the midst of a family reunion on my Mom's side, people would note the resemblance between me and my Dad. As I've gotten older, I'll hear every so often that I look like my Mom.

The same is true for Randy. Thirty years ago, people usually made comments about how much he resembled his Mom. Today, he's much more likely to hear, "You look just like your Dad." 

Genetics are a funny thing - in the human world and the animal kingdom. Some baby calves are little carbon copies of their mothers. There is no doubt who belongs to whom because they have the same markings.
But sometimes, our rides through the pasture have me humming a different tune from my kids' Sesame Street days:

One of these things is not like the others,
One of these things just doesn't belong,
Can you tell which thing is not like the others
By the time I finish my song?

The little black-white-faced calf doesn't look like it belongs to the brown and white mama. The all-black baby looks like it ought to belong to an all-black mama.

But the most jolting differences this year come with the arrival of three little beige babies. Randy knew there was a short period of time when a neighbor's Charolais bull came to call in our Rattlesnake Pasture. He stayed long enough to father three of our baby calves.

We are used to having baby calves hide in the native grasses of the pasture.
But, usually, they don't blend in quite so well. This little guy blended right into some stones leftover from an old cement stock tank.
The three Charolais calves are experts in winter pasture camouflage.  Their dad - the wandering bull - is long gone. But he's not forgotten, since these little calves don't look a bit like their mothers.
One of the babies doesn't need grass for hiding. He arrived with his own mask.

He might steal the scene since he's so darned cute.

Calving has gone well and quickly this year. We've had 68 babies of the 120 scheduled to arrive this winter. We lost a set of twins and one other calf. We'll see how they fare as the winter storm approaches on Wednesday night and Thursday. We will be glad to get any moisture, even though it's harder on brand new babies.