House Call


We had a return visit yesterday from Dr. Casto, the very kind USDA vet who visited our farm last fall to enroll us in the federal scrapie program, a government service that tracks sheep and goats (mostly sheep) and provides free testing. (To find out more about that visit and the federal scrapie program, see this post.)

Annabelle didn’t feel quite so fortunate to have his company as he was here specifically to see her.

Annabelle is a Suffolk-Dorset cross. Suffolks, and other black-faced sheep, are breeds associated with scrapie and therefore of particular interest. (Annabelle doesn’t have a black face, of course–her father was a Dorset and she takes after him, but her mother was a Suffolk.)

The vet and his assistants put her up on a bale of hay in a pen.

Then they got into her unmentionables.

Annabelle felt quite violated by the time it was over.

Jester said she wouldn’t have put up with that.

By the way, the little lambs have lost their tails.

And they don’t know where to find them!

The last time the USDA vet was here, after he finished with his business as part of the federal program, he generously examined our goats and donkeys. We’d just lost Pepsi and I was full of concerns. It was wonderful to have an experienced, expert farm veterinarian with the Department of Agriculture on our farm to look at our animals and answer our questions.

And so….

I just couldn’t let him leave without saying, “Do you know how to tell if a cow is pregnant?”

He laughed and said, of course, he did, but he didn’t have any long gloves with him, sorry! (He didn’t look sorry.)

His assistant said, “I have some in my truck!”

He told his assistant he was FIRED!

Poor Dr. Casto. He wasn’t even getting paid for this.

And so….

Beulah Petunia! I raced off to call her, brought her back to the milking pen, and the vet put on his gloves.

If you’re eating breakfast, you might want to think twice at this point about continuing to view the photos in this post. You have been warned!

He’s going in!

He’s trying to be stoic!

And then he’d had all he could take and he taught his assistant a lesson for bringing those gloves with him.

And yeah, baby!!!!

“There’s a calf in there.”


  1. Nancy in Iowa says:

    Oh, wow! You mean I really got to read this first? How exciting!!! I’ve learned to check your blog before I go to bed, since that is always late, you post early and you’re an hour ahead of me! This is wonderful news, but I’ll bet it’s no surprise to Beulah Petunia.

    BTW – it didn’t bother me because (a) breakfast won’t be for several hours and (b) I watched all the All Creatures Great and Small episodes – several times!!

    But please give Annabelle a hug from me. At least she didn’t have to go into stirrups.

  2. Nancy in Iowa says:

    Oops – I also meant to comment on the lambs’ tails – I hope they’re not where the Giant Puppy can find them!!!

  3. Julie says:

    That is very exciting news. You must be thrilled! So, how long ’til you have a calf? :moo:

  4. marymac says:

    OMG!!!!! Just what you were hoping for, how exciting!!!!! What is it, 9 months ? Did he know how far along she is? I am soooo happy for you Suzanne.

  5. whaledancer says:

    Woohoo! Congratulations! How much longer will you be able to milk before you have to dry her off?

  6. Karen Anne says:

    Congrats to Beulah Petunia. I too thought of All Creatures Great and Small. I wish the author were still with us.

  7. Rose H says:

    Congratulations to Beulah Petunia and of course you! What great news to wake up to. Have you come down off cloud nine yet?

    :happyfeet: :moo: :happyfeet: :moo: :happyfeet: :moo: :happyfeet:

  8. Becky says:

    WOW!!! Another addition to your farm!!! This is very exciting!!!

  9. Tracey In Paradise,Pa. says:

    : :snoopy: : YIPPPEEEEE HOW HAPPY I AM FOR YOU!! :snoopy:
    so exciting is your life!!!!!
    Hugs Granny Trace’
    P.s Your birthday presents just keep coming!!

  10. Laura B. in Greenwood, IN says:

    All I have to say is OUCH!!! :bugeyed: Congratulations!

  11. Richelle says:


  12. Suzanne says:

    oh, congratulations!! how incredibly wonderful!!!! can’t wait to read all about it!

  13. 5kathleen2 says:

    Oh Boy…a baby Beulah! I guess it is time to ask for a “Birthday Barn”!!!!
    Kathleen H in Indiana

  14. Jill Garofano says:

    OMG HOW COOL!! I am so excited for you!! that is great news. Now a contest for the baby name!!

    Jill from NY

  15. Diane says:

    wow a baby cow!! Did the vet show you how to stick your arm down there to check to see if there is a baby?? My daughters friend raises cows and can do all that yucky stuff and just loves it.

  16. Johanna says:

    I have so many questions, but I’ll save them for now. Congratulations on the upcoming blessed event!

  17. Ulli says:

    :moo: Wow, (calf) baby!! :moo:

  18. CindyP says:

    You just couldn’t let him leave without asking — in a way that he would have to definitely say yes! How could he be a vet and not?! Congratulations, Beulah Petunia! :moo:

    The little lambs are sooo adorable….all soft and squishy :sheep:

    And poor Annabelle — for some reason stirrups look more comfortable than what she went through, that didn’t look any more graceful :no:

  19. Lori Skoog says:

    And what are the odds of milking two cows?

  20. Connie says:

    Congratulations! A new baby calf is so cute! :cowsleep:

  21. Tovah says:

    Whoa. That’s the only way they can tell a cow is pregnant? Dang.

  22. flutterby says:

    I’m with Nancy in Iowa. After reading every volume of the All Creatures Great and Small series, the “intrusion” pictures didn’t bother me. Of course, I had breakfast a couple of hours ago.

  23. Lisa D says:


  24. AndreaB says:

    I remember having to do the arm up the well you know test when I went to large animal vet school at the University of Findley in OH. We went out to a dairy farm and had to check there cows for a grade. Enjoy your new baby I bet you can’t wait what a great gift that just keeps give.

  25. Mary says:

    This is so exciting. I have a suggestion though…as the person who suggested the name Beulah, why not name the little calf Petunia as the two names together are sort of hard to say. Maybe that’s why you unknowingly gave Beulah two names, because there was another one in there. Anyway this is going to be exciting.

  26. highlandviewpantry says:

    Congrats! How are you going to do this in the future. Renting a bull or just buying the unmentionable?

  27. I Wanna Farm says:

    I’m so excited for you! I can’t wait to see the baby! I hope you get to take pictures of the birth, that would be awesome. Yay! A Baby!

  28. cherylinsunnycal says:

    Two for the price of one…can’t beat that! :shimmy:

  29. Leanna says:

    Awesome! Baby cows are so stinkin’ cute!

  30. Linda says:

    Congrats on getting a new calf soon. ๐Ÿ™‚

  31. Susan at Charm of the Carolines says:

    Maybe there is a reason I don’t live on a farm. GA-Ross!

  32. ScarlettSeraph says:

    That is so exciting! You are really starting to have quite the farm here! Congrats on all the new babies!

  33. Wildcat says:

    Yay, a baby cow! 52 sure knows how to give terrific birthday gifts…. not only a milk cow, but a PREGNANT milk cow! :snoopy:

  34. ScarlettSeraph says:

    Oh… and I’d also like to say that I kinda agree with Mary. Maybe she needed two names because there were really two of them this whole time and we didn’t know it.

  35. Just Kris says:

    OMG!!! I cannot believe you put it so calmly into words!!! I am so excited – doing a happy, baby cow dance right now – whatever that is!!! Seriously, congrats Suzeanne!!! :snoopy:

  36. Sarah says:

    YAY! I am laughing over the expressions on the gentleman’s faces… That is so funny. And then to have someone taking your picture when you are doing something like that… SO funny. Congrats on the baby! DO we know an approximate date? :cowsleep:

    • Suzanne McMinn says:

      Cheryl, you’re supposed to dry them up about two months before the calve.

      Sarah, he thinks she’s probably about 3 months along, so maybe late October or early November is our best guess right now! So we’ll need to dry her up toward the end of the summer.

  37. Cheryl LeMay says:

    I’m surprised you’re still able to milk her. I always thought they dried up during pregnancy. But, what do I know? I’ve never had a cow.

  38. Deborah R says:

    That’s too sweet! Congratulations!

  39. Nancy says:

    How exciting! Congratulations! I love learning about the day to day care of Beulah Petunia…that’s the one farm animal I’ve never had…I don’t quite understand how you dry her up when she pregnant? I know with other animals you keep the babies away so they can’t nurse….OH! Duh…so you stop milking her?

  40. CherShots says:

    I’m dubbing you the “memory joggler” (is that even a word?) Anyways, you have a way of joggling more memories of being raised on a farm than anyone I’ve ever run across. Thanks once again, for not leaving out a single detail. LOL and happy, happy, joy, joy for Beaulah Petunia and her two legged Mom.
    P.S. thanks for the crock pot Grandma Bread Recipe. I posted a recipe for Fruit Pizza if you’re interested. It’s really easy and oh so good…. oops, it calls for an oven, sorry.

  41. kerri says:

    Hubby and I got such a chuckle about the assistant speaking up about having gloves in his car. Hilarious! ๐Ÿ˜†
    I ask you, who would want to be an artificial inseminator or a large animal vet? They spend a good part of their time wearing those long gloves ๐Ÿ™‚
    That’s wonderful news about the calf! :snoopy: I’m putting in a plug for “Matilda” if it’s a girl :cowsleep:
    How exciting to have a birthday present that just keeps on giving :moo:

  42. Barbee' says:

    WHEW! I am just exhausted after all that – comments included! I love the double name, and the old fashion names: Beulah, Petunia, Annabelle; they just seem perfect for a Suzanne farm. If the baby is a girl, I would vote for the name Amelia. Well, at least they didn’t pick on just Annabelle; Beulah Petunia got to share the (umm) “attention”. Really busy day with much accomplished! :yes: Suzanne, it’s a wonder you don’t fall asleep at the dinner table! :cowsleep:

  43. Su says:

    OH! Congratulations!!

  44. Phyllis Ryan says:

    YEAH, A NEW BABY :moo:

  45. Barbee' says:

    Hi Kerri, we posted comments 1 minute apart. You published yours while I was still typing. Maybe there will be twins and could be named Matilda and Amelia ๐Ÿ˜†

  46. kerri says:

    Hi Barbee’,
    I’m smiling about us picking out names already :happyflower:
    Amelia is a great name too. Perhaps Suzanne will continue her penchant for double names :moo:

  47. Drucillajoy says:

    What’s Clover’s viewpoint on the whole deal? Congratulations to all!!!

  48. Gini says:

    AW, a new BABY!!

    Poor Annabelle. Hopefully the darling will have a short memory after he’s gone. That’s really lovely that you get free testing though!

  49. Melissa Marsh says:

    OOOOH! So excited for you! Congrats!!!

  50. Jenny says:

    You must be happy to know for sure. Congrats!

  51. Shirley Corwin says:

    First of all, sorry Annabelle, but you’ll get over it. Us “girls” have to put up with a lot don’t we!!!
    I’m so happy for you and Beulah Petunia!!! That will be exciting. Suzanne, you’ll have to go without your own cow milk for awhile. Baby needs it more : ))

  52. Mary says:

    OMG I’m so excited! We’re having a baby moocow! We’re having a baby! (Note how I pay no attention to the fact this isn’t my cow.) :cowsleep:

  53. Carol, too says:

    Anabelle has such a pretty face. She’ ALMOST as beautiful as Clover.

    Congrats on the baby cow! It seems so far away…

  54. Kim from Milwaukee says:

    Suzanne, I’m assuming that the former owners knew she could possibly be pregnant…? Did they have her ‘served’? Soon time to put those kids to work milking, up at the buttcrack of dawn!

    Congrats!!!! :shimmy:

  55. Maureen Child says:

    Awww, you’re having a Grand-calf! That’s very exciting! Will really cut down on your cheesemaking though, won’t it?

  56. Cousin Sheryl says:

    I CAN’T believe that you didn’t CALL me with the news! FANTASTIC! If you have a heifer calf, I vote for the “two-name” thing to continue with Belinda Marigold or Bertha Amaryllis!

    I will learn to do the arm thing if you want me to . . . I certainly have enough experience with shorter parts – hehehe – -(Don’t panic folks, I’m an OB Nurse!)
    :cowsleep: :snoopy: :shimmy: :sun:

  57. catslady says:

    Congratulations!! A new mama again ๐Ÿ™‚

  58. Runningtrails says:

    Oooo! A baby calf! I’m so happy for you!!! What nice vets you have there!

  59. auntbear says:

    Thrilling news :snoopy: ..I already have a name suggestion if it’s a girl and I’m thinking on boy names too.Will there be milk to share when Ms. Beulah Petunia has to provide for her young’un?

  60. Jessica says:

    Poor Annabelle! Congratulations Beulah Petunia!

  61. Estella says:


  62. SuzieQ says:

    Better get busy making lots of :cowsleep: cheese to last during the “drying off” time.

  63. Sherry says:

    Oh how wonderful! Did they have a Jersey bull (or Jersey semen as it may be)? She is so beautiful. To carry on the “All things great and small” theme…the BBC TV productions are quite wonderful. Not necessarily completely dedicated to the storyline but great anyway.

  64. DonnaTN says:

    Congratulations! You’ve got a fertile farm even if the “fertilization” happened else where!

  65. Amber says:

    OH my Goodness!!!

  66. ssuther27 says:

    Congratulations!! :snoopy: :moo: :happyfeet:

  67. Linda Goble says:

    I am so excited I can’t wait to see a little calf in your photos. I bet you were jumping up and down. :snoopy: :snoopy:

  68. rain says:

    :snoopy: :snoopy: well that’s the gift that does keep giving and giving!!! :snoopy: :snoopy: :wave: Love it :sun:

  69. lavenderblue says:

    Hooray! Hooray! :woof: Such good news, well, maybe not for Mister Vet Man, but for the rest of us!!! Also ignoring the fact that it is not my cow. What did 52 say? And when is that barn coming? Can we all come to your house for an old fashioned barn raisin’?

    Someone suggested Amelia for a name. That was my mom’s middle name. She never liked it ’cause she thought it sounded like a cow’s name. Just don’t pair it with Margaret ’cause that was her first name, although now that I think about it, my mom probably wouldn’t have minded. But do keep the double name for cows going, it sounds so old-fashioned and cute. Quaint, as it were.

  70. Julie Curtis says:

    two for the price of one!!!

  71. Maura @ Lilac Lane Cottage says:

    Congratulations Suzanne! This fall will be exciting around your farm…although I really don’t want to think of fall right now since spring has been a LONG time coming. Looking forward to checking out the new recipe site…can’t wait! Have a wonderful day…Maura aka Chic

  72. tabbimama says:

    OMG, OMG, OMG, I am so excited. I can’t believe I am so excited over someone else’s prego cow. I loved this post. Also, because of an All Creatures Great and Small history. Please keep em coming. We want to be there every step of the way.

    Also, and I’m playing the devil’s advocate here, please don’t go commercial on us like some other previously well loved bloggers. We just want to hear about your farm and keep up with the doins. I myself don’t need giveaways and yada yada and book tours etc. That just takes you away from the good stuff. Now, I know this is a capitalistic venture and you are trying to increase your capital, but please don’t make it too big or you will lose readers, not gain them. I mean this in the nicest way possible.

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