Two days ago I reported on the blog that we had our first calf of the season. That wee one is still our only calf. Russ went all day without seeing it yesterday but came home in the evening feeling easy. He said the Mama, our cow named “Even” (the Norwegian form of Evan, named after a friend of mine in my Up With People cast) had her calf stashed somewhere. “How do you know its not dead?” I asked. “I can tell by how she is acting, everything is fine.” This morning he came in while the kids were having breakfast and reported that he had seen Even’s calf and it was doing very well and is oh so cute, so small it can practically walk under its Mom’s stomach. I felt impressed with Russ’s accurate read of the situation yesterday.
This morning when Russ went to put the dogs out he found it had rained. A sound of jubilation came from the porch. In fact, it has turned into a rainy, at times snowy kind of day. I had hoped to sit at my desk this morning but when Russ cited the weather as a good reason to go to town for breakfast, I agreed. We got a couple of crucial errands done and had some very good visiting with a friend we ran into at the restaurant. We have travelled wide in the last month and never have found a breakfast better than the one we enjoy at the Flying M Diner. We checked the cows on the way home and found no new calves, though some pretty full looking girls were grazing. We sure love seeing our cows looking content, they have put in such a winter, I made sure to tell then how impressed I was with them when I saw them today.
Here are a few pictures of how things look on Day 3.
When we got back from town we got down to doing some inventory and getting a list ready for our order from the vet clinic. We were assessing what we need for tags, vaccines, vitamins, rings, and ralgro. Russ is struggling with his glasses prescription at this point so asked me to read the expiry date on a bottle of vaccine. It was June 2022. “That is this year right?” was Russell’s response when I informed him of the date. I looked at him funny. Trying to normalize his fuzziness about this a bit I said, “Covid makes time all wonky doesn’t it?” He said, “nah, I have never been good with dates. I still write 1988 on cheques sometimes!” Oh Russell……you keep us giggling. Russell would like to report in that on day 3 of calving he has just had a haircut, he is clean shaven and as rested as he will be for a while. There is sure to be some changes to this status as the season unfolds, but for now he headed out the door for afternoon work feeling pretty fine in clean laundry.
Today we are thankful for every drop of moisture we have received, for good coffee and for friendship.
I have resisted having a blog for a long time, fearing the pressure to create content regularly. Suddenly, however, it feels like freedom not pressure. Interesting how that goes. I have spent several days setting up the page with not too much to show for it. It is definitely a learning curve. There are some in our circle that like to keep up with events on the ranch so this is a chance for me to record and share the events of life.
As I write today we are dealing with the opposing realities of stormy weather. On the one hand we have been desperate for moisture. We had very little snow over the winter and an extremely dry fall so we have been staring at dry and browning ground for what seems like weeks after a short winter. There were tears in the head ranchers eyes several times yesterday. The moisture found in the snow and rain that has fallen over the last day and a forecast for more is giving some hope that we might have adequate water for the cows and hopefully a hay crop. On the other hand, cold and wet weather as calving gets underway means trouble. It has taken me an hour to get this far in this post due to the needs of the ranch. It started with a phone call from Russ, “I need you to get Morgan up, tell him to start the white truck and saddle the horses, and, if I don’t call you back in 2 minutes its because I am under the jeep” (where he would be hiding from a mad Mama cow.) He called me back in 5 by which time I was getting dressed, preparing to go see what I could do, and telling God how much I wanted my husband to be okay. Follow up phone calls and action ensued. Jill was needed too. As I sit now here is the status report…..I have two calves in the dog room in the house here. One of them is quite vocal. Morgan and Jill both had hearty breakfasts thanks to leftovers. Hoping to ensure that a sleep teenage boy did not go back to sleep when he was needed I lingered nearby in the laundry room and got the first load of laundry done. That means that all the sheets/blankets that our puppy “Coffee” peed on last night, right at bedtime, are in the process of getting clean. Morgan did well and got to breakfast in good time. While he ate I unloaded the dishwasher, got that job off the list. Then I cleared the supper table from last night. It was late and we were tired and distracted after supper last night, so we didn’t make that the priority. Paid for it this morning. Russ came in with two wet and cold calves just as I was getting the dog room floor swept and a mat down. We brought a heater in and now hopefully the calves of Coby and Fifi will warm up and be okay. Jill is out at the barn dealing with a different calf, a twin that we are adopting onto a Mom that lost her calf. Russell and Morgan are out on horseback rounding up Coby and Fifi and bringing them home to the barn where they will be reunited with their babies, hopefully warmed up and ready to suck. At this point, now 8:52 am, Russ also had word that Penny has calved and her calf is doing fine, up and moving around with her. Thankfully not every morning is like this, but this is calving season and this is how it will be for a bit, especially in cold wet weather. We are very grateful for the wet part of that.