Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Winter Routine

I admit it; I am a creature of habit. I like my life to have a routine, a schedule. That is why this fall has been so tough; it seems that I have spent the last three months trying to catch up to where I am normally on the calendar. However, after this week we should just about have all of the cows and calves where they go for the winter and my winter “routine” will start.
Normally, (OK so I have come to realize there is no normal in my life) harvest is done somewhere around the middle of October. That gives us a couple of weeks to prepare ourselves to bring the cows home from summer pasture. You know the usual fixing of pens and putting fence up around corn and soybean fields. Then the last week of October or the first week of November we bring the cows home and sell calves on the first Friday in November.
This year, due to the unusual growing season, we did not finish harvest until the end of October. This delayed everything else about two weeks.  Last week we sold the last of our calves about two weeks later than usual. I know we are in the same boat as everyone else and believe me I am not complaining, it has been a good year and I have appreciated the change in the weather pattern. But, I am a creature of habit.
I am sure that it will feel good to open the gate and usher the last cows out to stocks. To be honest I thing they are as anxious to get back into the winter “routine” as I am. As much as I am a creature of habit, I am sure that my cows are even more so. One morning of being a little late with their hay will bring a bovine chorus and a welcoming committee at the pasture gate.
I know I am not the only farmer or rancher type tied to a routine. I know this because I am used to meeting the neighbor’s tractor and hay processor in the road each morning. I meet the same people at the same place in the road. That is why I laugh when I hear that Daylight Savings was put in place for farmers. I don’t know of another group (except our livestock) that thinks Daylight Savings is worse idea.
That is why it will feel so good to finally get to that winter routine this week. My family tells me that I have been out of sorts the past couple of weeks, I am sure that it is because my schedule was just not normal. Although this is where I must confess that with two teenagers and their schedules, I am just not sure what a” normal” schedule and a “normal” week is supposed to be anymore.
This routine will last about a month and then lambing season will start and I will have to settle into a new routine, then calving season begins and yet another routine will need to be established. I guess the change in our daily schedules is a good thing because it keeps our lives from getting so mundane. Knowing that we will change our routines every couple of months gives us something to look forward too.
Then the added challenge of not knowing what the weather will do or how it will affect our plans ads to the intrigue of our jobs. One thing I will say is that my job is ever changing and my work conditions are never the same. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I must admit that there are days that a climate controlled office seems pretty tempting, but I have been there and I can tell you that there are more days when the pull to be outdoors is much stronger.
As much as I am looking forward to getting on with the winter feeding routine, I am just as sure I will be ready to open the pasture gate up in the spring and start that routine also. There truly is a place for each season and I enjoy each one. Now, if you will excuse me, it’s time to put my coveralls on, start the feed pickup and feed my creatures of habit.

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