Colin and Chloe with Buttercup“The cow is of the bovine ilk; one end is moo, the other milk.”
― Ogden Nash,
In the world of cows, 92% of the females in a boy/girl set of twins are sterile and called Freemartins. The reproduction systems in these cows are malformed and they rarely ever grow to adulthood with the ability to reproduce. One cow defied the odds. She was taken in by our daughter Alison and her husband to raise on their little farmstead.  Her story as told by Alison.
Diron holding baby calf.jpg1“Early in 2011, a brother and sister twin Holstein calf set from my parent’s dairy farm (Trissel’s Farm) came to live with my husband and me. A female cow, who is twins with a male, is almost always infertile, nature is smart like that, and so they’re generally used for beef. And that’s what we were raising them for. We decided it was best not to name the pair; but our [then] 5-year-old son, Colin, called the twin calves Violet and Moo. As Violet grew, we couldn’t help but notice that once a month it was an incredibly hard job to keep her in our pasture. Our neighbor’s field of a few beautiful Herford cows, complete with a bull, boarders ours. One cold morning in early spring, I was loading the kids in the car, getting ready to take Colin to preschool. I noticed Violet was missing from our field. We drove all around looking for her, and even drove to our neighbors house, twice, thinking maybe she was visiting their cows. The second time we drove to their house, because I had no idea where else she could be, Colin spotted her. “There she is!! She’s making friends already with the ‘bully’ cow!”  So she was, and so our neighbors allowed her to stay for a few days.
Months went by and we hadn’t thought much about the incident with the “bully cow.” But come to think of it, she hadn’t tried to leave the field in a long time.  And well, yes, she was getting big. Bigger than her twin brother.This past fall, a farm vet confirmed that the (almost) impossible had happened. Violet was pregnant and due around Christmas time. Her darling half Herford heifer calf was born a few days before Christmas. Violet the Cow rejoined her sisters of the herd at the Trissel Farm. My neighbor says she thinks Violet knew what she was doing all along. Her baby girl, named Buttercup, is with us now and someday will be a dairy cow too, only not on the Trissel farm, but on a place in the country providing milk for several families.”~
Colin and Chloe holding heavy cream carton with their image on the label***Baby Buttercup, Colin and little sister Chloe are featured on the Shenandoah Family Farm’s cream label. In 2013, our family banded together with 20 other small family farmers in the Shenandoah Valley to produce and sell our own natural, local, sustainable dairy products. For more on Shenandoah Family Farms, visit our website and like us on Facebook. Also, you can help us bring our local products to your grocery store by signing theProduct Request Petition. We’ll send these requests right to stores in your area so you can try our products as soon as they are available (later this month). It’s a dream we’ve worked hard to achieve and our best hope of preserving our farms for future generations in the Valley.
*Images of Baby Buttercup and Colin and Chloe and their father Diron


  1. Mary Ricksen // January 22, 2014 at 7:22 PM  

    I wish I had your life!!!! Feel perfect!
    With that wonderful place and family...

  2. Barbara Monajem // January 22, 2014 at 8:21 PM  

    I don't know much about cows, but now I know a little more than before. The cow and the kids are adorable! :)

  3. Beth Trissel // January 22, 2014 at 8:39 PM  

    Thanks guys. I agree. :)

  4. Scarlet Pumpernickel // January 22, 2014 at 10:14 PM  

    Beth, I always enjoy your stories of life on the farm. I grew up on a family dairy farm and we often made pets out of the calves. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Beth Trissel // January 23, 2014 at 7:19 AM  

    Thanks Scarlet. The calves really are cute and this one has an extra charm.

  6. Pamela Varnado // January 23, 2014 at 2:23 PM  

    Beth, it sounds like this is an exciting time for your family. Kudos to all of you for going after your dreams. That takes courage and a strong belief in yourself. I love the cow story. And the kids are so cute.

  7. Beth Trissel // January 24, 2014 at 7:20 AM  

    Thanks Pamela. It's both exciting and challenging.

  8. debjulienne // January 24, 2014 at 4:07 PM  

    I love this story...and the pictures are precious...I so want to visit this country of's on my bucket list.

  9. Mary Marvella // January 24, 2014 at 6:18 PM  

    Such a cool story! We visited my grandmama on her farm that wasn't really a working farm when I was a kid. There was often a cow and sometimes a horse! We drank well water and used an outhouse, too!