Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Slowing Down

The calving is slowing down: eighty calves on the ground over the last three weeks, but only one calf today.  There are twenty-five heavies in the calving field now, and the last twenty-five that I haven’t brought in yet. 

I am anxious to see how this lull plays out.  It corresponds with the loss of three bulls last summer: one lame, one injured, and one that just quit the cows to go lay in the shade.  I had scrambled to buy one more bull, but the cows were scattered over hundreds of acres and only three bulls left to seek out whatever cows came in estrus. Fortunately most of the cows were bred before the bulls petered out.

The snow had been gone from the flats ten days ago, then we got that storm a week ago that dumped a foot here in 24 hours.  Between the calving and fighting snow I was kept pretty busy for a few days.

The temperature has been hovering around 32 since that storm.  There has been enough frost first thing in the morning to firm up the mud and snow while I get the feeding done.  But mud has been a big factor in the afternoon when I feed the heavies.  (Cattle tend to calve in the hours before they are fed, so a late afternoon feeding promotes cattle born in the daytime versus in the night.)  The snow has been slowly melting until there is only a few inches now.

There are always plenty of projects waiting to be worked on, but mud and snow make outside work an unproductive hassle.  It was a good day to slip away to town between feedings.

Among my missions were the accountant, the banker, the grocer, and the feed store.  The county road had dried enough that I stopped at the car wash to blast off several hundred pounds of mud from my pickup.

And we’re one day closer to spring!

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