Country Living Series

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Birth and death

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.

48 comments:

  1. Please accept my condolences. Some folks don't understand that certain farm animals are liken family to us.

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  2. I am so sorry for you. I have been reading your blog for years and it has been very apparent of your love for Matilda. Some animals are just like that and you develop a close attachment to them. Please accept my condolences.

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  3. So sad. Sorry for you and Don. It seems that I've had this happen so often over the years. One thing we started doing is making memorials. Put a big rock on the grave, or one of my favorites is to plant a fruit tree there. Or some perennial flowers. Then it's Kelly's tree, Barney's tree, Kitty Kat's flowers, Laddy's Rock, Henry's Place, etc. Thirty years and more have passed and we still remember when we talk about where something is and we are going to pick flowers, berries and fruit. That keeps our friends here with us even if only in our memories. ---ken

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  4. When my favorite chicken died, I was inconsolable. Sorry you are missing her so much.

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  5. I am so sorry about Matilda. I have enjoyed seeing pictures of her as you posted throughout the years. She just seemed to me to be such a kind soul. You could see it in her face. Every time I would see a cow of her breed I always thought of her. She was lucky to have such a good caretaker as you and that you cared.

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  6. My heart hurts for your loss.......such a sweet, beautiful friend.

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  7. We have always enjoyed your stories of this wonderful friend of yours. Our condolences on the loss of such sweetness in your life.

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  8. I'm sorry, Patrice. She was a cute cow and had a good life.

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  9. I have been returning to this site for several years. Please accept my condolences on the loss of your beloved family companion.

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  10. I'm so sorry to hear about her Pat.

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  11. Sad, sad news. Loved Matilda stories, from milking to birthing babies. I will miss that sweet face.

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  12. So sorry about Matilda. I remember your recent post about how special she was to you. She was lucky to have you.

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  13. Very sad to hear especially in light of other losses....try not to torture yourself thinking of what-ifs or suffering, as I did when my favorite chicken died. Sounds to me she was as happy as could be and you can be proud of the quality of life for your pets. I choose to believe we will find them again in the new earth (that just makes it easier to accept when they are gone from this one).

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  14. Those sudden farm deaths are the worst. We all work so hard to provide good homes especially during bad weather so when the unexpected happens-it broadsides us. So sorry for you and I hope it was fast and painless for Matilda.

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  15. Condolences, Patrice. I'll miss your Matilda stories as well--she was obviously well loved.

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  16. Sorry for your loss. Until we meet again.

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  17. I'm so sorry. They're more than just farm animals, aren't they?

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  18. I am not a farm person, but I loved your Matilda. Never met her, but through your posts I came to love her. I have lost a dog and two cats and I know that Matilda was like a house pet....Condolences to you and Don on the loss of a beloved pet and her baby...Take care of Amy for Matilda.
    Love from NC

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  19. Stunned and heartbroken. But her legacy lives on in the fine animals she left behind.


    Steve Davis
    Anchorage, Alaska

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  20. Talk about a cow- "lucky in life" to have been Patrice's favorite!

    As I have aged I have seen more and more "good ones" go. If they didn't suffer and had a good life I have been blessed with memories. Of 5 big dogs all have been 12 or older (current is 12 and 5 months) - except for the wonderful German Shepherd that was hit by a car at 18 months. I mourned her the most. Our horses, with few exceptions, easily make their teens and 20's. My 3 year old liver chestnut mare with the flaxen mane that was coming along beautifully in training and trying SO Hard to do her best, who died in the pasture was the hardest to lose.

    You have many wonderful memories AND photographs, along with off-spring. When I see photos heading articles in magazines with Matilda or Lydia I know you authored them. You have been blessed by then and they by you!

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  21. Oh! How very sad. :( I am so very sorry for you all.

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  22. Patrice I am so very sorry to hear of the loss of your sweet Matilda. Always sad to loose these special farm animals that you spend so much time with.
    J @ Creekside Farmstead

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  23. So, sorry for your loss.

    kathy in Mississippi

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  24. Oh no... I'm stunned and so sorry for your loss.
    Dock Guy

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  25. Oh so sorry, Patrice. That's a tough one. Good she did not suffer or have a long decline. Praying the Lord is your comfort during this time.

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    1. We lost our Jersey this winter, too. Lily went into labor in mid-December even though she was not due until March. The vet had to help deliver the tiniest, cutest little bull calf but, of course, he was already dead. It just seemed to take the wind out of Lily. We have a black Angus and a Holstein but the place just doesn't seem the same without a Jersey!

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  26. my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beloved matilda.

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  27. Thank-you for your stories, Patrice, as we enjoy the sweet and the sad ones, and link them to our own lives. So sorry for your loss.

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  28. Matilda had such a sweet face and was a lovely creature... so sorry for your loss.

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  29. I'm so sorry to hear about Matilda...

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  30. Awwww, sad for you to have to miss that sweet face and presence as you go about your days. Thanks for sharing even these things with us. I'm sorry for your sudden loss.

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  31. I have been reading your blog for many years and have come to know and love your animals through all of your posts. So sorry to hear of sweet Matilda's passing, and praying for Gods comfort for you during this time.

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  32. i've sent this post out, My Uncle Gerald's post about meeting our pets in heaven...and although it specifically talks about cats and dogs...i think it refers to all of the magical animals that have come into our lives and our lives being the better for it. here is the post:

    http://thelastrobin.blogspot.ca/2009/12/our-dogs-and-cats-alive-again.html

    i am sure that patient, loving Matilda will be waiting her turn to run across the field to meet up with you again, Patrice.

    make sure to give yourself enough time to grieve..it will take a while. and please be gentle to yourself while getting over the loss of such a beloved family member.

    i send you warmest thoughts.

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  33. So sorry, Patrice, on your loss of Matilda. My deepest condolences and comfort to you and your family at this difficult time.

    Fran

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  34. I still feel silly saying the same things over a favored quadruped that I say over a spouse, a parent, a sibling, a friend, but... We get so very, very fond of some of them. I'm sorry for your loss.

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  35. So sorry to hear this sad news . It sounds as tho she went quickly and without too much trouble , a blessing for such a sweet animal .Karen Jones

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  36. So sorry to read of the loss of Matilda! Yes, farm life is tough but some losses are so blankety blank hard on the heart! We have a 10 year old and she is the matriarch of the entire farm, she knows and sees everything that goes on! Thoughts and prayers being sent your way from Minnesota.

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  37. Unless one is a complete unfeeling clod animals can and often do get in our lives. Be it a cow in a commercial herd, a dog or cat in the house or an armadillo your kid found in the woods animals can get next to us.

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  38. God Speed sweet girl... I'm so sorry :-(

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  39. I know you will miss her, all of who read your blog will too. She was a special cow, I could tell from her eyes that she was a gentle soul. You gave her a good life, much better than the dairy farm you got her from.

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  40. I am sorry for your loss of beautiful Matilda.

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  41. Sorry to hear about the loss of Matilda.How old was she?

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    1. At least 15, possibly older. We had her over nine years, and she was at least 6 when we got her.

      - Patrice

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  42. So sorry to hear of Matilda's loss. I first started reading your blog to follow her and your adventures and procedures using her milk. We'll miss her.

    sheilab15

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  43. Oh Patrice, what a heavy heart you will have. This is such sad, sad news and I tear up thinking about your loss. We loved Matilda, dear sweet thing, and will miss her. Poor Amy. It will be hard for her too. Praying that you will be comforted and be able to smile thinking of the "forever" memories she's left you. Jenny

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  44. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. As a long time reader, I know how much Matilda meant to you. I hope Amy will be okay. And while it doesn't erase the pain, at least you have new life to look forward to. Prayers!

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  45. The loss of any cow to a small farmstead is devastating. When it’s one that is your favorite, It’s much worse.

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