Holy (and Faithful) Cow!
Their first meeting was a shock, but in time Helga and her new family learned to love one another.
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.