Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Spring in the Air?

When it comes to weather in the Texas Panhandle, only one thing is certain. It'll be hot in the summer. Well, maybe two things are certain; the second being, "Expect the unexpected." 

It isn't abnormal for temperatures to bounce around in the spring (or nearly spring). I expect that much. However, with around 70 heifers to calve on the farm in March through May, I (and every other farmer/rancher across the country) really was hoping for cooperative weather. My hopes were not fulfilled. 

Yesterday, it rained. I love the rain! Rain is a rarity we can't get too much of in the Texas Panhandle so I never want to wish it away. Is it possible to wish for it at a better time though? Because following the rain, we had a cold front push through the region, dropping temperatures well below freezing over the night (read: the perfect time for first-time momma cows to bring their little bundles of joy into the world - not!). This morning I woke up to a frigid windchill and the beginnings of a full-blown blizzard. We didn't get a lot of snow, but it came down sideways, thanks to a hefty northeast wind. 

Have I mentioned how far from ideal this weather is for calving? Well, it is about as far from as ideal as possible. We had three healthy calves last night. The calves and their mommas are up in the barn with plenty of straw to bed down in. We expect at least one more calf this evening, possibly more. Here's to hoping the others hold off until the weather can straighten out a little.

I write this not to complain (because I really do love my first calving season), but to share the struggles we are going through today on our farm. March blizzards are hard on people, but they are so much harder on newborn calves. We do our best to care for them because that's what farming is all about. This is our livelihood, whether rain, sleet, snow or sun (we can hope, right?). These are our animals to tend, and we'll do everything in our power to make sure they are healthy. If you are the praying type, send one up for the ranchers across the U.S. tending their animals in this cold, snowy weather.

This is Grumpy Cow. She was not excited about the snow.

This is a peachy cow (Charolais X Hereford heifer). She's smack-talking about the weather. Actually, she's just chewing her cud.

Snowy heifers

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