12:30pm is lunch time on the ranch. Well, it didn’t always be, especially not this time of year. This time of year just happens to be calving season. Ah, yes, calving season. That glorious time of the year when ranchers anxiously await the arrival of the first frolicking, healthy, beautiful baby calf. Like clockwork, a well-seasoned cow in her prime will drop a calf on nice, soft grass on a bright, sunshiny day. She will lick it dry and the calf will hop right up to its feet and start nursing greedily.
Ah, yes. I forgot. That is the story of calving in my dreams. Let me tell you how it really is.
There is a week of beautiful, bright, wind-free, sunshiny weather. The cows all get moved to their proper places and the rancher smiles to himself, “There. I am all prepared. Just in time for this wonderful weather we are having! Yay for calves!”
Approximately 18.53 hours later, a snowstorm and giant cold snap happens, plunging the temperatures 60 degrees overnight. Whether out of stress, spite, or just pure dumb luck, a 2 year old heifer (cow pregnant with her very first calf for those of you wondering) decides that would be the perfect time to give birth to her first calf. In a snowbank. At the farthest corner of the pasture.
So the rancher spends the next several hours warming the calf and coaxing it to nurse. Exhausted, he returns home at 3 in the morning to catch a few hours of shut-eye before it’s time to go check heifers again. This time, to find out a cow in the middle of calving (an upside down calf that ends up needing pulling), has broken down the gate that the rancher closed heading back to the big pasture. A couple hours later, the calving cow is found, brought in, and the calf is pulled.
Ok, in all honesty, sometimes everything does go picture perfect. It’s not always 20 below and snowing. But, sometimes it is, and that’s the thing about ranchers: we don’t take “days off” and we NEVER get “snow days”. Snow days around here mean pulling all-nighters – after a full day of work.
… but I digress …
What I really came on here to write about was that it warmed up to 24 degrees today and the kids and I took the opportunity (after I made tirumisu for tonight’s dinner party dessert) to bundle up and go outside to enjoy the sunshine!
I pulled the kids around in a calf sled for a while. I was craving a workout. Just kidding.
After that, we got my parent’s 6 wheel Ranger out and drove “Down South” to the pasture where we keep our heifers that are waiting to calve to check if there were any getting close that need brought in. (There weren’t.)
We put a purple sled in the back of the Ranger in case we found any good sledding hills along the way (we did).
I don’t have any pictures of this fun outing because: In one arm I was carrying Henry. The other was going between making sure Millie didn’t fall in the snow or pulling the sled… or both!
Also, if you knew the incredibly small amount of snow that we have on the ground right now, you would probably find this really funny. It was more like… “Grass sledding”. But Millie, Henry, and I didn’t care! At this point in the winter, we are all getting Spring Fever pretty strongly and it was just a blessing to get outside, together, in the sunshine.
It is now 12:37. Travis should be in any minute for lunch – a lunch of glorious, marvelous, lovely leftovers. Pizza (from town), meatloaf (from two nights ago), and lasagna (from a friend last week). YUM.