Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Have You Herd?

Sorry, that title is terrible. I couldn't help myself. But......

Y'all have just GOT to take a gander at the newest members of Irish Grove.

Here's our first little guy, born the second week of June. He was startlingly silver. But now he's white, and goofy-lookin', and definitely thinkin' he's a big deal.

Here's #2, pitch-black at birth. Altho he'll end up a nice dark brown. If you look hard, you can see the brown peeking through on his neck.

Next up? Numbers 3, 4 and 5. Two of which are females. Heifers, as we call 'em.

The white-faced one is our spunkiest calf. She tends to run circles around the other calves, kickin' up her hind legs and just generally havin' a good time. She's been named Delilah by the kids. We only name the girls, because, well, umm.....just because. (We shouldn't talk about the facts of cow life when they're just babies.)

Delilah was our first girl. We're partial to her because she's so darned cute with those black circles around her eyes. And because she's spunky.

Here's #6, the dark one with his mother. Another boy, and a sweet little guy at that. He only weighed about 60 lbs at birth.

Number 7 is another story. He's this big bumblin' bull-calf that has a very annoying tendency to walk off and hide in the tall grass. He's like a great big oaf that doesn't have any survival instinct what-so-ever.

I've never before seen a calf like this. He will literally sleep in the tall grass all day, all night, and all day next as well. We have to go looking for him in the morning and literally roll him over a few times before he finally finds the gumption to stand up and try to find his mother. The big lazy bum!

Hopefully he livens up a little as he gets older. Here he is after being pushed, prodded and generally rolled around by his human keepers. His mother isn't too happy with us, seeing as we're botherin' her baby. We decided to keep our distance:

Last but not least is this little cutie. Gosh, is he a doll. White as can be, with a black nose a black eyelashes.

Eight healthy calves, born in the height of summer. Who could ask for more?

Marcel is pretty happy with the new crop of calves. Can you tell?

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Cemeteries, Gravestones and Procrastination

I've always loved roaming around old cemeteries. They're so peaceful and serene, quietly shaded, and curiously inviting; the type of place that makes me want to sit for awhile, a place to perhaps read an old classic novel while leaning back against an old, sturdy headstone. I've never done that, read a novel in a cemetery. But I'd like to.

Irish Grove's cemetery is especially beautiful. And yes, I'm partial. But what can be more beautiful, peaceful and inviting than a rural church surrounded by the crumbling gravestones of its founders and the newer, shiny gravestones of its more recent members?

So you'd think a few simple requests to find the grave sites of my reader's ancestors would be pretty easy for me to honor, right? Well, unfortunately not.

You see, Irish Grove's lovely cemetery was a place I loved to roam up until that fateful day that one of my own was buried there. And now that Dad's there, the cemetery has become a place to avoid. It's the one place where I can't gloss over the pain of loss, where I can't deny reality, the one place where I'm forced to grieve.

But I go. I do. I force myself to take deep breaths and think positive thoughts, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn't. I send my kids to jump on their Grandpa's stone, to "wrestle him" like they used to, which makes me smile and laugh one of those forced know the kind. And I think to myself, "If I keep coming here, it'll get easier." It will, right?

But today, as I drove to the cemetery to finally take some photos of someone else's relatives and someone else's history, ancestry, and quite possibly grief, my stomach started to tighten up. I mean, how could I justify going to the cemetery and not go visit Dad's grave? What kind of daughter am I, anyways?

But then......well, I saw something. Something, I am ashamed to say, that prompted a sigh of relief to escape through my lips. A lawnmower. I was saved by a lawnmower!! There was a young man mowing the cemetery lawn and I couldn't have been happier to see him. I mean, I can't go visit my Dad's gravesite and cry in front of a teenage boy, now can I? The poor boy is just trying to make a little money. Probably saving up for college. And he was so content, sitting there listening to his iPod and driving around headstone after headstone. Some old lady crying would make him really uncomfortable, and you must agree that that wouldn't have been very nice of me.

So, Fox's and Cuff's......please thank the local teenage lawnmowing boy for your photos. Without him, who knows how much longer it could've taken for you to get these.

And please accept my apologies for the delays, especially you, Rex. You've waited far too long for this:


Oct. 21, 1817

Aged 52 years

Here's the headstone, up close:

Here is the view behind the stone:

Here's the stone as it's found in relation to the church. It's the small headstone on the right side of the picture:

For the Fox family:


1815 - 1891


1813 - 1891


son of J.B. & C. Fox

Erected solely by J. B. Fox

I must admit that my family and I had to chuckle at that last sentence on the stone. We meant no disrespect, but there must be a good story there somewhere!

Here's a close-up of the gravestone:

And here is where the headstone is found in relation to the church:

Irish Grove really is beautiful. Maybe I will take that book on over.....