Thursday, November 9, 2006


Written By
Jane-Ann Heitmueller

Bucky has no idea she is a calf. She thinks she is the child of her "Mommy", Ray Heitmueller. It is said that we learn what we live and due to her beginning Bucky is correct in her assumption.

Sometime, in the chilly, early morning hours of May 23, 2003 Bucky's mama delivered her in the woods of the Heitmueller pasture. For some unknown reason her mama had no desire to care for the new born calf. Many times, in the animal kingdom, if the off spring has an imperfection Mother Nature instinctually passes on the message to the parent and it does not accept its baby. Thus, nature takes its course in the cycle of life. For an entire two days and nights, as Ray heard the baby bellowing and running from cow to cow in search of nourishment, he felt that he should not interfere with Mother Nature's wishes. However, as the human element of kindness and concern reached out and stroked Ray's heartstrings, he decided to attempt to rescue and feed the spunky, noisy little bugger. Perhaps, he thought, he could at least give it a chance at life since it so desperately displayed the desire to live.

Ray carried the little white, pink-nosed calf to the warmth of a hay lined stable and in doing so he was very surprised by the strength of his little charge. This little girl was going to be a real handful as she bucked and squirmed in his strong arms. For the next few days Ray made repeated treks to the stable, nippled metal bucket in hand filled with a few pints of warm supplemental milk. At first it was quite a battle between the two of them as Ray attempted to place the foreign, cumbersome, rubber nipple into the eager, searching lips of the little twisting, turning mass of humanity. They both struggled, in their own manner, to reach the desired position for nursing. After several days and numerous attempts they hit upon a position that suited both the man and the calf. Ray straddled the little squirming fellow, forced the nipple into her mouth and they were finally successful in their united technique. Once the desired method was achieved the ravenous calf could not drink fast enough. As the days passed and the two of them settled into a rhythm of nourishment the trip of friendship had begun. As soon as Ray entered the stable with the bucket of milk Bucky would grab his trouser legs and start sucking away at the pant leg. This was his mama…his life source!

Soon, as Bucky grew and thrived Ray began feeding her sweetfeed, a combination of various grains, corn and molasses . Bucky loved her new food and before long she no longer needed the milk and was soon able to be placed in the yard to graze on the verdant, juicy grass. Because Ray was afraid the other cattle in the pasture would not accept Bucky and perhaps harm her, he decided to place the calf on a collar and chain attached to various feeding stakes throughout the yard. For the next few months Bucky grew and was happy with her living arrangement. She was given the refurbished hog parlor as her own private dwelling. After all, she wasn't an ordinary calf. She needed to be protected from the rain, cold and heat.

Bucky dearly loved her Momma Ray. Each time Ray entered the yard, either walking or driving, Bucky would give out a loud bellow for his attention and not quiet until he met her demands. On a few occasions, when Bucky was grazing near the clothes line, she would grab items off the line and munch away happily. Strangely enough, the items she chose were clothing that belonged to her momma. Apparently soap and clorox had, in no way, diminished the aroma of her mama's scent.

As Bucky got stronger and needed more space for her grazing she learned how to tug at her chain until she was successful in freeing herself. She loved those escape sessions and although she never left the yard, she had a grand adventure munching on the delicacies of various shrubs, flowers and yes, Ray's laundry. Several times she explored in various barns and outbuilding on the farm. Sometimes she even ventured onto the patio of the Heitmueller residence to peer inside…perhaps looking for Mama!

Bucky is nearly 16 months old now and needs to be off a leash and have her freedom. It is doubtful if she will ever, due to her small stature, be able to adjust to life in a pasture among her own kind. And so, the decision was made to share this cunning little calf with the children of our community. Our good friends, the Peinhardt's , have graciously agreed to add Bucky to their county petting farm. She will be delighted to be petted and pampered by little hands of smiling children who, otherwise might never get the opportunity to view and enjoy such a creature up close. Perhaps this is the legacy intended for the spunky, hungry, eager little calf who would not give up until she found the attention she needed.