Holy (and Faith­ful) Cow!

Their first meet­ing was a shock, but in time Helga and her new fam­ily learned to love one another.

Farm & Ranch Living - - LOVIN’ THE LIFE - BY TASHA FURTNEY, AGE 19

t all started when my mom saw an ad for a

Dex­ter named Helga. We specif­i­cally wanted a Dex­ter cow be­cause it is smaller and more ef­fi­cient at pro­duc­ing milk.

The cow was be­ing sold for $700 or for the trade of a num­ber of things its owner was in­ter­ested in. One of those things hap­pened to be a golf cart, and it just so hap­pened that a month be­fore, a man had given my fam­ily a golf cart. So we traded the golf cart and $200 for our first cow. The seller agreed to hold Helga un­til we got a shel­ter built.

Our cow was com­ing! My fam­ily, in­clud­ing my three sis­ters and one brother, had waited a long time to find just the right first cow. When we had fin­ished the shel­ter, dub­bing it the “ca­bana,” and the day fi­nally ar­rived, I was so ex­cited that I could hardly wait.

As Helga got to our place, the seller and my dad each got a lead rope on her and opened her trailer door. She bolted right out. The seller let go of her rope, but Daddy held on tight. We didn’t have any fences around our prop­erty, so if Daddy had let go, I’m not sure we would have had that cow.

It was win­ter and the hard ground was icy. Helga dragged Daddy along un­til she ran down a steep bank and fell. She didn’t get hurt, but she didn’t know what to do next. That gave us the chance to get more lead ropes on her hal­ter. When we had a to­tal of four on her, the rest of the way it was us do­ing the pulling.

IAfter we got Helga in­side the ca­bana, we all crowded around to see her. She didn’t like hav­ing us so close, so she charged us as much as her short rope would al­low her. We all backed up and stood there think­ing, “So this is go­ing to be our milk cow?”

My mom looked up what the name Helga meant: “holy” and “faith­ful.” That is what we wanted her to be, so we de­cided to keep the name.

The fol­low­ing week we only hand-fed Helga. Slowly, as she learned to trust us, we were able to touch her and brush her. Daddy took her for walks un­til she was tame enough that we kids could walk her, too.

We had a lot of fun with Helga. My sib­lings and I made a har­ness out of straps for her to pull our wagon. Later, Daddy made a bet­ter one that she could use to pull logs. Once we made her a daisy neck­lace. Af­ter tak­ing a photo of her with it, we left for a bit. When we came back she had eaten most of it.

Af­ter a while we sold Helga to keep her bull calf, but we missed her and we soon bought another heifer who later gave us some calves. Two of those we still have, Co­coa and Blue­bell. With Lily, a Jersey-Guernsey we bought, and her daugh­ter Sun­shine, we now have four.

My dad says if ranch­ing were easy, ev­ery­body would do it.

Rais­ing cows has taught me a lot, and I sure am glad to be a rancher.

Helga the Cow joined (from left to right) Tasha, Rana, Maria, Christa-Joy and Amos Furtney for the fam­ily Christ­mas photo in 2011.

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