10 April 2019 – Freezing rain and 24 degrees
It appears our bomb-cyclone-avoiding luck has run out. We are sitting in the middle of a nasty winter storm today, complete with freezing rain, snow, and 40mph winds. The snow isn’t really sticking so it doesn’t look that bad in the pictures, but it is fairly unpleasant outside for April.
Despite the weather, Rancher Dave is out in Babe, the tractor, disking up the fields. He said it is actually the perfect temperature for disking since the ground is kind of wet, but the dirt is too cold to clump up on the disks. He is pretty cozy in the tractor cab and said he even has to keep one of the windows cracked to prevent from getting too warm.
We had such fantastic luck with oats last year that we decided to plant more this year. Rancher Dave called the seed store in Rapid and went down there to buy a pallet of Goliath Oats. When he got there, he paid the guy and went down to the warehouse to pick up the pallet. Unfortunately, they had made a mistake and didn’t have any oats in the warehouse! They made it right and delivered the pallet to our barn to make up for the trouble. This all happened on April Fool’s Day so Rancher Dave thought he could pull a good joke on me about the whole debacle. When he got home from Rapid I saw his truck coming up the drive so I went to put on my boots and work gloves so I could help him unload. When I got up to the barnyard, I saw him standing next to the empty trailer with his head in his hands and he said, “I lost the pallet! It must have fallen off somewhere between here and Rapid!” Normally I would not fall for these shenanigans but I was completely caught off guard that day. I said, “Oh no! I’ll go call the Highway Patrol and see if they’ve seen it!” My fear was that it would have killed someone if they hit a giant pallet full of oats, and also my mind began racing about how in the heck we would reload it if we did find it. Then Dave said, “April Fools!” Ha ha…nice one Dave. Just remember paybacks are hell! So my plotting begins, Bwahahahahaha.
We were hoping to get the oats in the ground before this big round of moisture, but they were just delivered yesterday afternoon, so it will have to wait. Last year we got them planted on the 16th of April so we aren’t too late yet.
Meanwhile, calving season has commenced. On the 5th of April, and exactly on schedule, Dairy Queen calved a cute little bull which we named BlackJack. He is the 21st cow we have out here now thus the name.
DQ is a fantastic first-time mom and is constantly licking and grooming the little guy. He is super strong already and every morning goes zooming and kicking around the pasture.
Three days later, Rosie calved a little bull in the wee hours of the morning. This is her 5th baby and she snuck off in the early AM to give birth by herself. He brings the herd total to 22 so we named him “Catch 22.”
We have separated the new moms and babies from the rest of the herd for a couple of days, and now that the weather is so awful, they are in one of the barn corrals where they have some shelter from the freezing rain. We also corralled Honey because she really looks like she could have her baby at any moment. The rest of the herd has access to a big loafing shed and another covered pen. We are really hoping no one decides to calve until Friday when the wind and moisture will subside and the warmer temperatures will return. According to our records, no one else should calve until the 24th because they weren’t exposed to our bull before that. There were a few “traveling salesmen” bulls that wandered through our pastures last spring, and if anyone calves in the next few days the timing could mean that one of those bulls was the responsible party. We did have Rosie and Dairy Queen in with our bull, Koozy, when we first bought him last summer, so we know for sure that Black Jack and Catch are his kids. Nice job, Koozy! Get that bull a cigar!
Time keeps speeding by and we can hardly believe we are already in the middle of April.. I wanted to write a blog post on the 31st of March because it was the three year anniversary of the day that Dave and I left Florida with the U-haul full of our things and headed out toward our new lives here in the Black Hills!. I missed the date because the weather was too nice to be inside writing a blog. Dave and I did celebrate with a fancy box of wine. We are both amazed at the amount of things we have learned and experienced in just three short years, and our only regret is we didn’t start this adventure sooner. We can’t wait to see what will happen in the next three years. I’m sure it will go by in the blink of an eye, and I can tell you I am already looking forward to the next April Fool’s Day. Look out, Dave!