Calving season is fully underway. I know it is dry and the temperatures are abnormally warm and I really should be concerned about the pattern we seem to be slipping into but it is really tough. I could really get used to checking and tagging calves without the need to wear coveralls and mud boots. All of the poor hay we had set aside to unroll for bedding is, so far, going unused. I know this can, and probably will change by the time you read this. If it does, I am sorry.
Sunday was one of those days you know you will pay for somewhere down the road. Sure it was a little windy but it was sunny, dry and warm. The kids and I were supposed to help with a pancake feed for our 4-H club because of this we left before chores were done. Jennifer was going to finish chores around the barnyard, check the cows at our place and go help Dad tag new calves before she had to leave to help with an FFA Alumni fundraiser. Sunday mornings are hectic but this one promised to be even more so.
Jennifer called to tell me chores were done and we had two new calves at our house and she was going to help Dad tag four new calves at his house. Six new calves is a pretty productive day this early in the calving season for us, and it was a nice day to boot. Shortly after arriving we found out we were double booked to help so the kids and I headed home to tag calves.
Isaac and I fired up the feed truck and made our way out into the pasture looking for one big black cow and one big baldy cow. Just a few yards into the gate we found the big black cow and her big bull calf. With all of the quickness and agility of a teenager, Isaac easily caught the calf and in no time we had him tagged and ready for release. One down, half way done, or so we thought.
As we admired our handy work, we noticed another black cow, slightly smaller with a slightly smaller calf just a few yards away. Quickly we loaded made another tag and eased our way over to the next calf. It was a nice heifer calf and again we easily caught it and worked it while the mother watched us with a skeptical eye. There was really no way this cow could have been mistaken for a baldy so there must be another calf here. We gathered things up and got back into the pickup.
We did not drive another twenty five yards before we found a brockle faced cow with a big brockle faced calf. Maybe this was the big baldy, but it didn’t seem to fit either. We loaded up once again and carefully made our way to the cow and calf. Again capturing the calf was not difficult and the mama seemed ok with us tagging and checking her baby. It was a bull calf. The sun was shining, all seemed right with the world.
We collected all of our equipment again and returned to the pickup just about a hundred yards from the gate. We were still in search of the elusive big baldy cow. We picked our way through the other cows and older calves sunning themselves. Just twenty yard into our drive we spotted her. There stood the big baldy cow with a pretty little baldy calf, kind of a smaller version. This had to be the second calf Jennifer had told us about.
Isaac and I were more coordinated in our capture effort; after all we were much more practiced up. We easily captured the fourth calf and quickly gave it a brand new tag to match her mama’s. We stepped back and admired our work. Four new calves all less than a hundred yards apart, tagged, banded and vaccinated all in less than fifteen minutes. It doesn’t get any better than that.
Jennifer called to tell us that she and Dad had their four calves tagged and she did not seem to feel any remorse about her miscount on the calves. Dad was only fifteen minutes late to church and we continued on with our preparations for the FFA Alumni fundraiser.
I know I am setting myself up for one of those days it is blowing, raining and cold. Nothing goes right and we can’t find the calves. But for one shining moment it was nice to take a step back and enjoy the moment. Content cows, healthy new calves and sunshine, I could get used to this.