Passions net prizeA little calf with a big name is settling into her new Maple home. Lang Haven Nomar Fancy Fauna — Fauna for short — was presented to 13-year-old Philomena Lindquist — Mena for short’ by the Wisconsin Guernsey Breeder’s Association in April.
By: Maria Lockwood, Superior Telegram
A little calf with a big name is settling into her new Maple home. Lang Haven Nomar Fancy Fauna — Fauna for short — was presented to 13-year-old Philomena Lindquist — Mena for short’ by the Wisconsin Guernsey Breeder’s Association in April.
“I was a little surprised at how sweet and how gentle she was,” Mena said. “She was frisky but she wasn’t, like, going to bowl you over.”
Friday, the six-month-old calf posed good-naturedly for pictures, then shared a quiet moment with Mena before ambling back into the barn. The Douglas County teen’s essay on “What a Guernsey Calf Would Mean to Me,” topped 40 other entries to take first place in a statewide contest put on by the breeders association. Fauna was the prize.
“I wrote about how we’d like to bring more variety to the Bayfield County Fair and how we’d like to eventually have all our own cattle to bring to the Douglas County Fair,” Mena said. Both the teen and her father, Clynt Schmidt, are enthusiastic promoters of local dairy farming.
Schmidt said his family has been milking cows for generations. Although he repairs appliances for a living, the Maple man also runs Golden Bloom Dairy. Along with Jersey cows, the hobby farm boasts pigs, chickens, geese, sheep and a horse.
Mena started working with animals at a young age. Her first cow, Alice, is now 9.
“I got to pick her out when I was 4 years old and I was so proud of her,” the teen said.
She started showing cattle at the Bayfield County Fair at age 5, has shown pigs for a number of years and entered a horse last year. The teen also helps feed and care for the animals on her father’s farm.
“To me, it’s something she and I can do together,” Schmidt said, and she gets something out of it every day.
“I guess it’s since I’ve been exposed to a lot of different animals since I was little I just really like animals now,” Mena said. I” like having them around. I love showing them at the fair.”
Mena reintroduced dairy cows to the Head of the Lakes Fair for the first time in 10 years in 2009 as part of a Gitchee Gumee 4-H Club project. To do so, she and her father asked other Douglas County farmers for help.
Along with their own Jersey cows, they borrowed one of Julie Anderson’s Holsteins, a Brown Swiss from Debbie Williams and a Guernsey from Dave Middleton to give fair-goers a peek at the different breeds. Each is unique. Jersey milk has the highest butterfat content, for example, and Guernsey milk is rich in beta-carotene.
For the past three years, Mena has also used the collection of dairy cows at the Head of the Lakes Fair to pique interest for the Bayfield County Fair.
Getting ready for the fair is a lot more work than it seems, the teen said. Young pigs need to held, scratched and fed to get used to working with people. Cattle need to be brought out in the spring and walked around. If they aren’t show ready, the animals need extra attention the last week or two before the fair.
“It’s a lot of work and a lot of people don’t have time for it, and sometimes it is not the best money maker,” Mena said. “But when you see that little calf and you know that it’s yours, it’s the most amazing feeling.”
Writing is another one of the teen’s passions. She’s been writing stories, novels and plays since age 7. Mena, whose writing influences span from J.K. Rowling to Jane Austen, is currently working on a novel about undercover agents. Schmidt encouraged his daughter to enter the essay contest after seeing an article about it in Country Today magazine.
“I know I’m a fairly good writer,” Mena said. “I knew I had a chance.”
The new calf has a long pedigree to go with her long name. Fauna’s grand-dam lives on the West Salem farm she came from and her records go back even farther than that. Along with providing variety, winning the Guernsey calf has made Mena and her father more aware of the importance of keeping meticulous breeding records.
Fauna will be shown for the first time at the Bayfield County Fair, which runs from Aug. 23-26 in Iron River. Mena has already started working with the calf to prepare.
“It took us a long time to get the halter on her, but if we keep doing that you know every once in a while she should be fine,” Mena said.