I may have been alone going up in to the pasture to check on the newborn, but back in the winery Diane was doing her thing while Laurie was waiting for a report from the back field. They didn't expect me to walk in, calf in arms.
Laurie had experience with horses and colts, so she came right over to check out what I had brought into the winery. She touched the calf and realized right away that its legs were frozen stiff. The calf was shivering too, but with significantly reduced energy the shivering was subdued, though very real. Laurie jumped right to it as I lay the calf down on some old blankets. She proceeded to do most of the washing with warm towels, and somewhere we managed to get our hands on an electric warming pad to place on the legs. Colostrum replacement was the next item of concern; the calf hadn't had any of its mother's milk all day, and it needed to have some to provide the antibodies that help prevent disease.
I raced down to our local feed store while Laurie took control of warming up the calf. This is like a first-time father being asked to get baby formula, but I also needed a bottle feeder, and anything else I could grab to meet the needs of this latest adventure. I read the instructions on the packet, and asked Susan at the counter if this is all I needed. It was one of those questions I just asked; every country girl knows these answers, right?
I sped back home and put together a small bottle of formula for the calf, and while Laurie held its head up we pried its lips apart to force the nipple in. Fortunately some natural instinct took over, and the calf proceeded to down the warm fluids. Up to now it hadn't really moved much, but with the colostrum you could see it awakening and realizing we were there to help it along.
Evening was approaching, and we made a small bunk, and we also believed that we needed some sort of crib or structure to keep it in place should it decide to pop up. We tilted 3 tables over on their sides and made a 3-walled fence of sorts around the calf as it lay bundled in all the blankets that had been gathered up. It was Laurie that came up with a name: Nicolas. It seemed proper, since it was December 14th after all (and it was a boy). Without objection and with no great alternatives, Nicolas it was then.
One of the things "they" tell you is to never name your farm animals, at least those that some day you might want to eat. Little did Nicolas know that naming it may probably prevented it from being prime rib some day.
Being new to this type of parenting, I went home for dinner only to return to stay the night, sleeping on the couch in the function room, being ready for anything that might be unexpected. I watched a little t.v., checked on Nicolas easily a half dozen times, and went back to the couch. Oh my, the noises you hear in a big new structure ! (TBC)