I always joke that we calve for half of the year and hay for half the year. I’ve always been (mostly) joking but this year, it really feels like we’ve been at this calving thing for months. We started mid-January so technically we have been at it for months but we are almost done (it’s mid-March when I’m writing this) and it still feels like this calving season will never end.
As far as actual calving goes, things have been going well. Aside from the usual issues that come with calving out massive bovines who may or may not want to be a mother and moving them through barns which they aren’t exactly used to being in, it’s been smooth(ish) sailing. I do love seeing all the cute calves running around! If I see one more flurry of snow, however, I will lose my mind.
We have so much snow piled up, I can’t even remember what grass looks like. I’ve never dreamed of mowing the lawn—like, ever but right now I find myself daydreaming about getting the old girl out of the shed and taking her for a spin.
There were several things that happened this season that I wouldn’t want to experience again but I’d have to say the doozy was being snowed in for a week with three kids and no husband. I don’t mean snowed in where you can’t go outside and play because it’s too cold; I mean snowed in where your kids can’t go to school because the road is no longer a road—it’s a vast white openness and the only way you know where the road is from the rest of the eight-feet-deep drifts is the occasional fence post that sticks out from the mountains of snow.
The first day was a blast—we did a few science experiments, made Play-doh, had hot chocolate, and watched a movie. Day two was a little less exciting but we played with the day-old Play-doh, got the giant box of Legos out and did a few loads of laundry. By day three I was really glad I had a big carton of Wilcoxson’s ice cream in the freezer and I repeatedly had to remind myself that I couldn’t just throw the kids outside because they could literally freeze to death with the subzero temperatures. When day four rolled around, I was on the phone with the county shop before the sun came up, reminding them about the county road they seem to have forgotten about for the duration of the storm and threatening Favorite Farmer with his life that he had better get the road to the highway open so I could get the kids to school.
It wasn’t that Favorite Farmer wasn’t trying, he would plow his way up to our house every day to feed the pairs that had already calved (which we had hauled up before the storm hit) and within five minutes the snow would blow back in behind him. This whole time he had been staying at his parent’s place down the road because that’s where we calve, and he couldn’t get up and down the road in between our places to do his checks and feed. So while he and his parents were on calving duty down at their place, the kids and I did our part to keep the pairs alive at our house. Every morning, we would disembark to look for sick and weak calves or cows not feeding their calves.
Then day five was upon us and the wind let up so Favorite Farmer was actually able to take Little Man in the tractor to meet his ride to school. Then the sun went down and the wind came up and on day six we found ourselves imprisoned in the house once again, where the kids now used the Play-doh as throwing objects and I did a lot of deep breathing in the corner of every room of our house. I also realized on this day that I would pretty much do anything for a delivery pizza.
Eventually, we were able to plow a road through one of our fields and the county road was opened. Two days later Little Lady contracted the influenza and once again, we were homebound (minus the oldest) for another ten days. Good thing I had a lot of practice with that.
We’re not entirely done calving but hopefully we’re out of the weather woods for a while. I’m sure once August rolls around I’ll be wishing for the white flurries once again, but for now, I’ve seen enough snow to last a long time. Just in case I start to miss it, I can always walk outside where the ground is still completely covered. In the meantime, I’m thinking there may be some real use for a “Ranch Mom’s Survival Guide to Keeping Indoor Kids.”
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