I have lived on the ranch all of my life. With the exception of a few college months in an apartment, I have been able to wake up with the sunrise to feed the stock and walk in the door just as the sun sets. There is nothing better in life than being on the ranch and witnessing the peacefulness that comes with these occasions. Some might call me crazy, I call it a passion.
|The crowd is waiting on February 15th (hopefully not before) to begin calving|
Calving season is one of my favorite times of year. The long days, short nights, and cold weather often make it a tiring season, but watching those young calves run in the pastures of Spring grass just makes it all worth the time and effort. As a kid, I remember begging to go with my dad at night to check on the 1st calf heifers in the snow. One can always count on these inexperienced mothers to need a lil extra TLC. With proper breeding and nutrition management, we can influence the amount of calving troubles, but when that snow hits, these confused heifers really do not know what just happened. It may be a chilled calf left in a muddy creek bank or a snow drift, but we will be there to help. No matter the time or the weather, we cattlemen care for our livestock.
I can remember many days when the office kitchen was filled with straw and yellow manure from the night before, but we did not mind the clean up. The floors and bottles would be cleaned and colostrum restocked as the season wears on and pastures fill with lil black bundles.
|This heifer is more than ready. Hopefully she delivers that calf with no problem and knows what to do with it|
There were several times in high school when I remember being “Up To My Armpits,” as the saying goes, trying to find that turned back leg. I was blessed with long skinny arms, so my dad was more than happy to let me lay flat in the mud to save that calf. There was the time when everyone was gone to my brother’s basketball game and I was left at home to watch the herd. One of our cows who had prolapsed and been sown was calving. So I had to cut the stitches and wait. She decided to go ahead and have trouble long after the sun set, just as it started to snow. I was much too young to drive on the highway and the only vehicle I had was a rugged four-wheeler with only one headlight. I pulled it up the chute, pushed the cow up the alley, only to find I had no chains and no sleeves. With the help of some string and lots of effort, the calf was on the ground. The calf later died, but I saved the cow. Life lessons learned on the Ranch.
I’ve seen ’em twisted and turned, twins or butt-first, but through all the work, sweat, and pain, I do it all again.
|If all pastures were this clean and dry when it comes time for calving…|
I have missed the last 4 calving seasons while away at college, and let me tell you; I’m like a kid waiting on the Golden Ticket getting ready for this round to start. I can hardly stand it. I hope all the calves deliver safely in good weather, without assistance, but reality is…. some will need a tug or a dry place to warm. We’ll be there no matter the time or the weather.
It’s times like calving season when I jump out of bed because the jacked up knee gives me fits. I swear it’s a change in the weather and I worry about that heifer I saw wondering off by herself. It keeps me up late at night, and I rely on that coffee to keep me wound tight. But it’s calving season when we cattlemen work hard, because we’ll work hard again come weaning time.
I could go on for days on why the cattle business is my passion, but I think you get the idea. This is just a glimpse of what’s on my mind now. Just a piece of the year round cycle of a cattleman.