Just as we welcomed two new members of our herd in the last two weeks -- Hickory and Ferdinand -- I'm grieved to report we lost our beloved Matilda today.
We're clueless, absolutely clueless, what happened. This morning, as usual, she and Amy (her adult calf) were in the barn, lying down, chewing their cud. She seemed perfectly healthy. I went and opened the corral gate so the animals could get out. When I came back in the barn, Matilda was on her feet; so I scratched her on the forehead and said something foolish and cutesy to her, as I often do. Then I left to do the rest of the barn chores. That's the last time I saw her.
The weather today was chilly -- a low of 19F this morning -- but bright and sunny and beautiful. Then Don came into the house around noon. His nose was a bit red. "Matilda is dead," he said gently. I stared at him, stunned. "I'm not joking," he went on. "She's dead."
I threw on outdoor clothes and went to see. Sure enough, she was a few yards outside the corral, lying flat on the ground, unbreathing. Don thinks she might have had a heart attack. It didn't look like she had struggled much, but she was indisputably gone. Her unborn calf, of course, is gone too. I couldn't bear to take a photo.
A kind neighbor will be here in about an hour to dig a hole to bury her.
Last October, I put up a post on why Matilda was always my favorite cow. Let that be my tribute to her. It happened so quick, I simply cannot believe she's gone.
Birth and death. Life on a farm. Good-bye, dear Matilda. Thank you for so many fine years.