Rancho del Corazon is located in the heart of the San Luis Valley near Alamosa, Colorado. It is beautiful, peaceful and a home to horses, cattle and a few humans.
It was from my experiences at Rancho del Corazon, that this true story evolved.The sequence of events occured over the first few months of the Winter of 2010. They began in the later weeks of January, crept across February and came to rest this past week, on the 5th of March.
In my head, there are big ideas for a horse ranch somewhere in Northern New Mexico or Southern Colorado. My search for just the right property is what led me
to my friend Sofia and her wonderful layout of land in Southern Colorado.
Sofia is a very kind, smart and talented rancher, architect and cowgirl poet-musician, who grew up in the beautiful San Luis Valley.
Upon my second trip to Sofia's property, I became fascinated with her good looking herd of Hereford cattle.
Leisurely, we rode in Sofia's Land Rover, across a pasture full of very pregnant Hereford cows. There before us, was a constantly moving vision of a great number of red, white-faced bulging mama cows. They were so with-calf, that I was surprised when we left the ranch that evening without having witnessed at least one cow baby's entrance in the world.
As I surveyed what layed before me, although my intention had been to find a ranch on which I could raise and ride Icelandic horses, I became increasingly curious about Sofia's lovely herd. The idea of adding a few Herefords to my future collection of animals, became a focus in my dreams.
Eventually, I asked Sofia about the possibility of purchasing a couple of baby cows from her.
It was about that time, that the question of branding irons came up. It was explained that I would need to have my own iron with my own "logo". In my mind, there was no question about what my "logo" would be. I declared, without hesitation, " My horses and cows will have a butterfly on them."
After a couple of trips to Colorado to look at Sofia's properties, it was time for me to return to North Carolina. Reluctantly, I left around the 7th of February and drove back the 1,800 miles to my island home off the coast of North Carolina.
After I had been back in North Carolina about a week, Sofia called with the news that the first calf had arrived. She was enthused about the beauty and good health of the first baby "out of the chute" and said she had named her Nancy Lou in honor of me. I took this as a great compliment and thanked her for being so kind and thoughtful.
As I thought about Nancy Lou, the beautiful little heifer, I decided that I would like to purchase her. She would be the first "starter cow" for "the herd in my head". Sofia agreed that she would sell Nancy Lou to me. It was at that moment my heart sang, knowing that a new chapter in my life was soon to begin. Wow, my own little red and white heifer. How special is that !?
This past Monday, the first day of March, I received another phone call from my friend, Sofia. Again, she was very excited to relate the latest news from the herd at Rancho del Corazon.
Sofia's news was both wonderful and amazing. She reported that the first brockle-face ebony Hereford had been born the preceding day. That meant that, unlike Nancy Lou, who has a red body and a white face, the newest heifer had a black body and a white face....and much to Sofia's surprise and delight, right in the middle of the new baby's beautiful little white forehead was the very distinct image of a black butterfly !
Oh my, what are the chances of that ever happening ? First, I had declared that I would have a butterfly branding iron and then , a few weeks later, this little heifer arrives with a black butterfly image right in the middle of her lovely white forehead. We both were amazed and delighted!
Sofia declared that she had named the new baby "Mariposa" which is the Spanish word for butterfly. And of course, you guessed it, my heart decided that Mariposa would be my second starter cow.
I asked Sofia if she would sell Mariposa to me and she agreed. I knew that Mariposa was meant to be mine and I was grateful that Sofia would allow me to put my butterfly brand on this very special little "butterfly girl".
If the story ended here, it would be enough and very interesting in of itself, but the most interesting and amazing chapter of this story unfolded from my head a few days after the call about Mariposa's arrival.
On the following Friday afternoon, I was sitting at my computer writing some emails to friends, when out of my noodle tumbled the most amazing memory. You might have trouble believing what I am about to relate, but I promise... with all of my heart ...that what I am about to tell you is totally true.Cross my heart and hope to die!
This is the way it happened: My mother, Rosalie, died in January of 2006. She was 93 years old and had contracted a staph infection which ate away her left heart valve . There was no way that she could be operated on and saved, and my oldest son and I had to sit by Mother for five days and watch her die.
On the last day of my mother's physical presence on earth, I talked to her a lot. She could not speak , but I felt in my heart that she could hear what I was saying and understood. I said, "Mother, you are going to be very happy soon as you are going to see Daddy, your mother and father, your grandparents, Aunt Marylou, etc etc....and I am going to miss you."
And then I decided to do something that I had thought about a long time.I said,
" Mother, I am going to miss seeing and being with you so very much. Please come back to visit me in the form of a butterfly.I will look for you."
I am now the soon-to-be owner of two lovely little cow girls.....red and white Nancy Lou and black and white, with a black butterfly on her forehead....Rosalie Mariposa.
I have not seen my two new little cow girls yet, but I already love them very much.
Dedicated to: My young and lovely-inside-and-out, Sister in Christ, Sofia. Without her friendship, this story would not have been born.
Original story by N.E.Renfrow aka Nancy Lou
Copywrited March 7, 2010