21 April 2021 – Sunny and 29 degrees….lots of snow on the ground
Since the last post we have had all four seasons again, warm summer-like high 60s for a few days, typical cool spring and fall-like weather, oh yes, and another two giant snow storms.
Any of you farmers out there needing moisture, please do not misunderstand us. We are very grateful for the moisture as we can always use it here. On two of the nice days, Dave and I took turns picking rocks and disking the northern pastures. Then we fertilized, seeded, and harrowed just in time. About four hours after we completed our spring planting of this pasture we got nearly a foot of snow.
About a day after the snow had mostly melted, we noticed that one of our heifers, Cupid, was really bagging up. We kept an eye on her all day, and at the 2AM heifer check she was the only cow up and about while everyone else was snoring peacefully. I came inside and told Dave we should probably set an alarm for an hour later instead of two. Neither of us could sleep and at 3AM we went out to find Cupid in full-on labor. We watched her get up and lay down and get up and lay down, pushing and pushing until finally the tell-tale sign of two hooves appeared. Then she laid down for what seemed like an agonizing hour but was actually only about five minutes. We finally saw the little nose and the front half of her baby emerge. Cupid seemed to quit pushing and Dave snuck over and gave the little calf a quick tug. She was BIG and Cupid seemed thankful for the assist. It is her first calf, and Cupid seemed to embrace her position of new mother by licking and looking after her baby immediately. About 20 minutes later, the calf was up and nursing. Perfect!
It is another heifer calf, and we noted the time she was born was 3:38 AM, so we named her after one of our favorite calibers to shoot, .338 WIN MAG. We are calling her Maggie for short.
A few days later, at a more decent hour, Wooly Bear headed up to the trees and I tried to sneak up so I could see what she was doing. She looked at me every time I moved with a warning glare, “GET AWAY!” I parked about a football field away from her and watched as she easily calved a giant bull calf.
This is not her first calf and she is also a very good mom. We decided to name this big guy Wooly Booly. He was born on a very nice, warm spring day and got to rest in the sunshine all day before the next foot of snow.
That evening, we knew we were supposed to get snow, and since we still have two expecting cows we called the herd back into the maternity ward. Everyone came except for Wooly Bear and her new calf. This is pretty typical because most new moms like to have some alone time with their new babies, but we worried about them being out by themselves in the blizzard.
At night checks, Dave could still see them off in the trees near to where she had calved. At the 2 AM check I could barely see using the spotlight because it was snowing so much and the wind was blowing so hard. I made my way down to the maternity ward gate and just on the outside was Wooly Bear and her calf. I waddled through the snow back to the barn and grabbed some hay and came back and led her into the maternity ward, baby in tow. She went right into shelter with the rest of the herd in the cow shed. I’m so glad we built that, while most cows will take shelter in the trees, ours are spoiled but we sleep better knowing they have a warm dry place to shelter.
It continued to snow the entire next day and part of the day after that. Fortunately nobody decided to calve during the blizzard. We are waiting on Valentine and one last heifer, Andie. It’s supposed to warm up so I hope they follow suit and calve on a nice day, daylight also is preferred, but at this point we are just ready to be done! I bet they are too.
Once the snow melts and we are calved out, we will move the whole herd to a leased pasture and start working on planting the south fields. Spring is busy, dynamic, and exhausting but when the wind stops blowing and the sun is shining it really feels like paradise.
Oh, I almost forgot. Pi is doing really well. She, in fact, is the biggest trouble maker of all the calves and will not be contained with barbed wire. She is always sprinting around and squirting out to the road (which is private and has hardly any traffic) or to the neighbors’ pastures. She likes to head-butt all the other calfies even though they are a bit bigger than her. Her mom is doing great nursing and we are so happy that she seems to be feeling and acting like a normal calf. That’s it from the Holler. Thanks for reading and we hope all you are having fun and keeping free out there in the real world!