Fairy tales, part one

Once upon a time, there were three dairy farm kids who loved to show their cows at local fairs.
Well, actually there still are three dairy farm kids, but their show season has come to an end for this year.
These are the tales of their season.
Two and a half years ago, Daphne was the first kid out to the barn after school and claimed a new red and white heifer calf as hers. She named the calf Daisy and spent many hours in the calf pen with her – petting her, brushing her, and hugging her.
Much to her disappointment, there was no show that summer for Daphne and Daisy. There was no show for Daisy last summer, either, as she was going through what we call the ugly-duckling stage.
This year, Daphne finally got to show Daisy. As Daisy got closer and closer to calving, she started blooming into the cow we expect her to be. She was only fresh a couple weeks at our county fair and still milking off some edema, but that didn’t deter Daphne. She walked Daisy around the ring with 2.5 years’ worth of anticipation and pride.
There’s an old country song by The Forester Sisters that croons the line:
“Just in case you ever change your mind/ If you suddenly decide to give me one more try/ I’ll be waiting in the wings, just looking for a sign/ Just in case you change your mind.”
This song is Galadriel’s story.
We knew she was a special calf when she was born, but she wasn’t quite big enough to show as a fall calf or a fall senior yearling. When she calved in that fall, our excitement grew even more. But, again, we weren’t sure she was mature enough to show as a 2-year-old. We also had hesitations about showing a later lactation cow. In the end, she was passed up for Cadillac, another 2-year-old
Monika was planning to show Cadillac again this summer. She enjoyed showing Cadillac last year. And, since Cadillac is Cherry’s daughter, there are lots of high expectations for Cadillac in the show ring.
But when Cadillac calved in this summer, she just didn’t look the part. Some cows age like fine wine; some not so much.
Monika prefers to show cows (over calves and heifers), so we looked through the barn for another cow to show. It just so happened that one night, Galadriel was standing right next to Cadillac. Galadriel has aged like fine wine. She grew from a moderate, correct 2-year-old into a remarkable 3-year-old. After a couple days of deliberation, we finally took Cadillac and Galadriel out into the yard. I told Monika to forget what she knows about each cow and use her dairy judging skills to decide which cow would place higher.
Galadriel didn’t place as high in her class or the state fair lineup at our county fair as Monika wanted her to, but she did earn Monika a state fair trip, which lead to another decision. Should she show Galadriel as a dry cow, since she was supposed to go dry Aug. 11, or take a chance and show her in milk? Galadriel didn’t look a day past 120 days in milk at our county fair, but there was concern about whether she’d hold that condition until the state fair.
Monika decided to take the chance and keep Galadriel in milk. It turned out to be a decision well made. Galadriel placed second in her class at state fair and earned a purple ribbon. Monika beamed with joy. When the cows came back for overall, Monika and Galadriel were pulled out, and Galadriel was named reserve champion cow of the grade Holstein show. Monika’s smile was mega-watt.
And, then to ice the cake, Galadriel cooperated enough during the preliminary round of showmanship for Monika to advance to the final round. After Monika’s experience with her heifer and showmanship at the state fair last year, she set a goal of advancing to showmanship finals. Monika thought she had a decent chance with Cadillac, because Cadillac leads like a dream. But, Galadriel is quite a bit more spirited, so when she switched to Galadriel, her confidence tempered.
By the time the final round of showmanship was done, Galadriel was too. But you’ve never seen a girl happier to place last in a round of showmanship. The medal around her neck shone as brightly as her smile.
The end.
Actually, we hope it’s not the end. Daphne and Monika are already making plans to parade Daisy and Galadriel around the ring again next year.
More fairy tales to come in the next chapter.

Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 100 cows near Melrose, Minnesota. They have three children, Dan, Monika and Daphne. Sadie also writes a blog at www.dairygoodlife.com. She can be reached at sadiefrericks@gmail.com


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