–Governor Hoard, of Hoards Dairyman magazine
“Why don’t we have a ‘Children’s Day’?” we have all known kids to whine. Our inevitable reply is, “Every day is Children’s Day!”
On the Dougan farm, every day was Mother’s Day. In her actual motherhood, the cow was carefully tended during her pregnancy, and when she “dropped” her calf, someone was there to help if she needed help. If she had real trouble, the doctor —the vet —saw her through her birthing. Her natural process was to lick her newborn clean, help the calf totter to its feet, then nudge it to the udder where it knew by instinct how to suck. It stayed with its mother several days. When it was separated and went to live in the calf barn, the herdsman, for several weeks, still carried it a bucket of its own mother’s milk —this was for the natural protection offered by its own mother.
Sometimes, in the summer, a cow gave birth in a field. Then she stayed with her babe, fending off the other cows —always curious –until the herdsman came and brought them both to the barn and a special stall. Once a befuddled cow returned on her own, without her new baby. No one knew where the calf was. The call went out, and everyone searched the pastures till a tiny bleat was heard, and there was the babe close to the fence, hidden in the grass. Mother and child were happy to be reunited.
In 1926 my grandfather wrote, “I confess I have a tender feeling toward Motherhood. I am almost nutty on the subject. I cannot harm a mother mouse, I save the homes of mother birds, not because I want their young rascals to strip my corn and steal my berries, but because I respect the mother spirit. And, with the domestic animals, I take great delight in observing the mother pig, getting her confidence and helping her in caring for her litter. Especially does the baby heifer going though her first experience of motherhood appeal to me; and I try to heed Mr. Hoard’s injunction, ‘The cow is a mother, treat her as such.’ When it comes to the motherhood of humans, my thought and respect is only deepened and intensified. The pregnant mother is beautiful to me. This prudishness would not be, if men and women could revere motherhood.”
Happy Mothers Day!