Bijou – Day 10

She’s meeting goats and enticing the puppy to play (No!)

We feel comfortable allowing the goats to share the pasture with Lucy and Bijou, but not yet with Ayi. A 15-month old puppy with no playmates sees a zoomy calf as “PLAYTOY”. Nope! Livestock guardian dogs do not get to play with their charges. So we are increasing calf/cow time with Ayi, but with Ayi on leash. Not comfortable with Ayi unattended with Lucy and Bijou – not yet. Ayi needs a bit more habituation training.

Bijou

To honor her ancestors (and our French friends), we have decided to call the new calf “Bijou”. More on the meaning later in this post.

The cattle breed that developed on that isolated Isle of Jersey off the coast of France became known as “Jersey” cattle. Historians believe that cattle likely arrived on the Isle of Jersey from France via an isthmus that is now under the sea.

Cattle also developed separately on the nearby Isles of Guernsey and Aldernay (Guernsey cattle and Aldernay cattle, respectively). Some Aldernay may have been moved to the Isle of Jersey during WWII, but it is said that German forces killed all the Aldernay cattle for food when they occupied the Isle of Aldernay . Today, Aldernay as a breed no longer exists, but some Aldernay genetics are thought to be preserved in today’s Jersey cattle.

Lucy is considered a miniature Jersey. We typically think of miniature cattle as novelty or recent breeds. However, the cattle in daries now have been up-bred for milk production. So 1000 lb cows that produce six gallons of milk a day are novel and “new”, not minis. In reality, the cattle that evolved on the isles of Guernsey, Aldernay and Jersey were not very tall, somewhere around 42 – 46 inches tall in some cases. That is in the range for miniature Jerseys today, though some are now smaller through various breeding programs. Lucy’s previous calf, Belle, was extremely tiny. Bijou is a couple inches taller than Belle, however, still very small.

Small, delicate and precious is the other part of the story behind the name we’ve chosen for this calf. “Bijou” is a French word that can mean a small jewel, or “something delicate, elegant, or highly prized” according to Merriam-Webster. We checked with our French friend, Franck, who has been here a few times and knows Lucy — he loved the name.

So, Bijou she is! You can check the Merriam-Webster link above for meaning and pronunciation, but it sounds like bee’-zhu. If you want to coo softly to the calf, it’s really easy to do by drawing out the last syllable of her new name and letting your voice lower as it trails off. You can project a little bit of excitement when calling her name by putting extra emphasis on the first syllable. We imagine sometimes she’ll just be ‘little B’.

Here’s a short clip of Bijou this morning, day five. She’s just starting to jump and run — unfortunately I didn’t get that in this video today.

Bijou
  • a baby calf facing the camera
  • a baby calf licking her nose
  • A little baby calf
  • A calf in a pen with a dog guarding in the background.

Speaking of guarding … the two dogs are a bit possessive of the new calf and have gotten in a row over it … so we have some work to do there with the dogs. Ayi actually has a little battle notch in her ear now. Things are starting to ease out, but still more to be done to let the dogs know Bijou is not theirs alone.

It’s a Girl!

Lucy just gave birth to a sweet little heifer that looks a lot like Lucy.

We had a long wait for this one. Lucy was due on Monday, but she didn’t start labor until this morning around 10:30 a.m. It was almost 1:30 p.m. when we saw front hooves and nose. But Lucy was pretty tired after working on this for a while. We grabbed ahold of the hooves at 1:55 p.m. and pulled. With our help, out she came!

Lucy cleaning her new calf
New calf learning to walk

Popcorn of Many Colors

This year’s popcorn crop was abundant and colorful!

Today Heather and David tackled the shelling and winnowing. They got about 5 gallons total. But there’s a lot of blue popcorn left to shell.

Yellow, red, and glass gem

And for those of you waiting on Lucy … so are we. She was 3 days late last year. As of now, she’s three days late. It is also her own birthday today.

The Importance of Open Governance

Time and again, we-the-people feel like 0ur elected officials do not have our best interests at heart. Their actions often do not match words.

Whether they do or don’t have our best interests at heart, our elected officials often attempt to avoid involving the public in complex issues because … well, it gets complicated. Democracy is messy.

Most of you know our community of Berry Creek was razed by the Bear Fire (North Complex, West Zone was the formal designation) in 2020. It has been nothing but uphill for our residents since then. Too many things to mention here.

But, to add insult to injury, our County Board of Supervisors on December 13, 2022 voted to close our Berry Creek fire station during “non fire-season”, effective December 19, 2022. (As many of you also know, state officials have said fire season in CA is year-round — maybe not this year, thankfully). The worst part of the Board’s vote to close was that the Board did not comply with the Open Meetings Law (also known as the Brown Act). This act requires 72-hour notice of the action to be voted on via direct link on the County website home page. On the day of the meeting, the link still pointed to an agenda for April 26, 2022. On other sub-pages of the county website (and on the board of supervisors individual web pages) the agenda link to the current meeting pointed to a November 8, 2022 agenda. The actual agenda the Board of Supervisors followed on 12/13/2022 had item 5.03, a budget reduction to fire and library. Not only did the Board of Supervisors fail to properly notice our community (as required by law) that they were going to close our fire station, the Board of Supervisors obscured the vote to close as a “budget reduction.”.

Today, at its first regular meeting of the year, the Board of Supervisors got the county counsel to say about the 12/13/2022 meeting: “with 100% certainty, I can say that the Brown Act was not violated.”

WHAT? County counsel said even the D.A. agreed that there was no Brown Act Violation. WHAT? Are these guys blowing smoke, reading an old version of the law? Are they not competent? Or are they the type of politicians and lawyers that further erode public trust in government.

Here’s the story about this that ran today on our North State Public Radio station: Fire station closures | Winter storm precautions | Leftover campaign money | NSPR (mynspr.org)

It’s Raining, It’s Pouring (but no old men snoring here)

The current forecast

In order to snore, one has to sleep, right? Well, the wind and rain have been so crazy it’s a little hard to sleep! And we don’t act like we are old, so there!

The goats are (reluctantly) allowing themselves to get wet more often than they’d like. Lucy is miserable because she’s due in a few days and the rain isn’t helping her feel good.

The creek is really running, but it has not flooded the barn, yet. In that picture of the forecast, above, we start to worry about flooding when that hourly liquid precipitation graph goes over .2 inches an hour. Or, when it is close to .2 inches and hour for more than 12 hours once we are this saturated. We’ve had about 10″ of rain so far this month.

I don’t want to tempt fate, but so far, the power has stayed on and the creek is staying in its banks.

This is what winter is supposed to be like in California. Rainy days. A little down time. A chance to read or maybe (heaven forbid, be just a little lazy). We know it’ll catch up with us soon enough … all of a sudden there will be a million things to do because it’ll be Spring.

Current Creek Flow

Storms Starting to Prune Dead Ponderosas

Pine beetles are killing all our large, old, ponderosa pine trees. Now the windstorms are starting to prune them. The wind will blow off the top 20′-30′ of the tree and drop it down up to 50′ away on top of other trees. So far, no damage to animals, people or fences. But even with 30′ gone, there’s still a good 50′ standing. Below are some examples. Some clean-up work in our future.

  • a dead pine tree with the top missing
  • a broken top of a pine tree laying next to another pine tree
  • broken pine trees and limbs laying on the ground
  • a fallen pine laying in a forest

We’ve also had a bit of rain (actually a “normal” northern California winter). You can see below that Ayi is enjoying her enlarged swimming pool (pond).

Ayi taking a swim in her enlarged swimming pool

Things That Go Bump in the Dark

1:30 a.m. to be exact.

Stormy night. Rain. Thirty miles-per-hour wind gust.

CRUNCH. THUD.

A quick flashlight inspection at that windy, wet, wee hour assured us that we were lucky.

No damage to house or infrastructure.

No guest was parked in the guest spot.

Just another tree mess to clean up.

… we had talked (many times) about getting this tree down before it fell, because if it had broken off at the ground, it would have hit the house. If you look closely, there’s still about 16′ of tree standing — that’s where it broke, about 16′ above the ground.

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