Calving 2023 – 12 days in

As I sit to write this it’s shortly after 11am on April 20th, we are about 36 hours into a winter weather event, not exactly a blizzard but wet snow combined with wind has made conditions trying. An hour ago our power went out. This house is very quiet.

We are doing well. Having power for those first 36 hours meant some things were normal and options were plenty for warmth for humans and calves. As I vacuumed yesterday afternoon I found myself feeling so blessed. I have never felt getting to vacuum was a blessing before. I was mentally and physically preparing for a power outage, when it didn’t happen yesterday and I could clean I was feeling pretty lucky. I guess perspective is everything!

There is lots to say. I have been writing blogs constantly in my head, but finding no time to actually do the recording of them. Pictures tell the tale again in this blog.

Sunday morning before church I helped Russ and Anja when a delivery of twins and a calf needing to be pulled happened within minutes of each other. The pulled calf was huge and had weak ankles so Russ and Anja splinted the calf.
Jill came home on Sunday after work and joined Russ and Anja with Monday’s work. It was awesome to have her back.
I can’t remember why this calf was on the lawn and needing a bottle. After a while alot of things blur together.
Jill did saddle work, venturing beyond her usual calving roles. I think she really enjoyed it.
This is one of many moments where there has been exciting, dramatic and sometimes disgusting times when the creatures and the humans have had to share the cab.
Monday evening we were treated to a delicious meal in a calm and beautiful setting when the Sedors had us over. Here Anja shares pictures with Sue-lynn.
At 2:30am Tuesday morning Morgan was dropped off by his buddy’s Dad, Lee Stanley. Having landed safely in Regina after their big huge adventure, Lee brought him the last leg, we truly appreciated this. I got up, chatted with Morg in the porch, he unlaced his shoes and said to me, “I have not taken these off since I put them on in Rome 26 hours ago.” Then he gently placed them off to the side. He carried his suitcase downstairs. I grabbed my phone to take this picture. The shoes that had tread all over very distant and special places were back in their natural habitat. My boy was home. My heart felt good.
Tuesday we had an extra and familiar face on the crew. Our old friend Maja was back for a day. She came to Saskatchewan with a program like Anja’s a few years ago. She has returned and is working on a nearby farm. She has spent many hours on the trail with us but this day was calving cows!
I went to town Tuesday with much on my mind and a lengthy grocery list. I feel very nervous about all the unknown factors of weather systems like we are in. That was definitely my truth as I headed in, with my first stop being to plan a funeral with a family, the funeral scheduled for after the storm has passed. My usual route to town includes a low level crossing, it is currently filled with rushing water and not safe to cross. I drew this close to get a record of it.
The detour I took to avoid the crossing gave me this glimpse of the swollen creek in our valley. Water is mighty and damaging but also so beautiful and promising.
Tuesday afternoon – Cowboy Morgan is back in the saddle. I love this picture Anja took of him.
This is the first morning of the storm (yesterday), the guys came in for morning coffee after finding the 7 calves born overnight were all being cared for ok by their Mom’s. Russ asked for breakfast food figuring it would maybe be hours before they were able to get back.
Anja got this good picture of Ron hard at work. Ron spent many hours in the tractor getting hay and straw to strategic places.
In the late morning, as Russ predicted, things got hectic and the crew was stretched. On one trip through the yard as cow calf pairs were being brought in and calving cows were being brought home the call came requesting coffee to go. Russ asked for personalized lids.
Lunch eventually happened. Russ loves hot biscuits and we used our cell phones to coordinate when those biscuits went in the oven for ideal serving temp. How would we have fared when there were no cell phones?

Late in the day yesterday I took the truck and trailer up to the pasture so that the cowboys working up there could trailer home, it was days end. I want to paint a word picture for you. I nervously drove the truck down muddy roads, 40 km/hr max speed, once I turned into the pasture the trail was quite obvious and I made my way to the chute. I could see a few cowboys huddled against the wind holding onto their horses. I wanted to take a picture but there are times that its just not appropriate. As I hopped out I could hear Morgan say, “we will do three and two”, I said, “how can I help?” “Hold the trailer door Mom”, was the reply. That was easier said than done as the wind grabbing that wide door meant I was holding back alot of force. I did it. It was during these moments that an unexpected thing happened. As Morgan began loading the three horses into the front compartment David Powell appeared with a horse in hand, perhaps it was Russell’s or Anja’s. ( They were at home dealing with sick calves and stressed cows.) I had been told David was coming out after work but not staying for supper, I didn’t realize he would stay so late though, and through the wind and the wet sleet blowing at us his very cheerful face emerged with a hearty, “hello Kathy!” I couldn’t believe the cheer amid the trying, somewhat tense conditions. Now, he had not been at it all day like the rest of the crew, but was likely up at 5 to get his regular work done so he could come out. This cameraderie, support and willingness to suffer, qualities that Laurie, Anja and David all show in spades, give us added courage and we keep going.

The bad weather is not expected to move on until tomorrow at this time. We are hopeful to have power restored before the end of the day. I am now sitting at Grandma Shirley’s kitchen table (she has power), I am poised to work on the funeral service for Saturday. There are plenty more pictures I want to share. These calving days are full of stories.

1 Comment

  1. Carvell says:

    Beautiful and trying times indeed Kathy! Thanks for sharing with us. I was really hoping the weather would give you all a break this year, I was optimistic with how things looked over the last week, but sheesh! You are hearty folk in all your roles! Praying the power comes back quickly for at least comfort at home base!

    Like

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