Calving is here! We had our first baby calf yesterday afternoon, and another one that evening. We didn’t bug the new mama, but I’ll get a better look at the calf so I can name it–I always name the first new calf of the year. It’s terrible, but I don’t remember last year’s, although he’s going to be a herd bull so I guess I’ll know him by his number, haha. The year before last, we had Boomhauer, and the year before that was tiny little Lola.
Every evening after feeding the girls and letting them lay around awhile, Bert and Gaucho pen them for the evening. Now that the girls know how to come to the pens for feed, he feeds them outside in the pasture when the weather is nice to give them more room. If the weather is very cold or snowy, they will eat in the pens.
Calving season becomes a rhythm. Every morning at 6:30 (or before, depending) Bert will head down to the barn to relieve the night calver, or he’ll come home and have a cup of coffee and some breakfast if it was his night to stay at the barn. In the morning, he’ll tag calves that are ready to be tagged, doctor his sickies, and kick pairs out to pasture that are ready to leave the pens. In the afternoon, he’ll feed and catch up on chores. He comes home around five if the weather is nice, and goes back down to the barn to check the cows a few times before the night calver comes on. If he’s night calving, he’ll head down at nine or ten. Throughout all of this, he checks the heifers constantly, especially if some are actively calving. There’s a lot of number-taking, note-keeping, and reminder-making that happens!
This used to be my routine, too, and calving season is the time of year I miss the most. I love tagging baby calves and being busy all day, and coming home and falling in bed from a day of really valuable work.
I don’t miss hauling my butt out of bed in the middle of the night to night-check in the cold, though. Not at all. Fun fact: probably half the people you see on a ranch in calving in the morning or late in the evening have sweatpants or pajamas on under their coveralls.
However, since my role on this ranch is different, and we have thing like naptimes and bedtimes and baths to work around, I set my clock by Bert’s schedule, and take on more of the parenting duties. This can be challenging being super pregnant (or home with a newborn), but we make it work. If it’s a slow enough day for him, Wacey and I like to go down to help tag calves or kick out pairs, and we both appreciate more time at the barn and more time with Bert.
Yesterday was one of those perfect days to head down to the barn–it was so nice, and Wacey hasn’t been able to play outside for a couple of days due to ridiculously high winds, so he was raring to go outside after we got home from the office. Tears were shed when I told him we had to go inside for a minute so I could change and he could get his jacket, but don’t worry y’all, we made it through it. It was hard, but with perseverance (and the uncannily well-timed arrival of Daddy), we survived the addition of textiles to our bodies.
Sarcasm becomes me in my third trimester, doesn’t it? I don’t mean to be overly sarcastic, but we could have contributed oh, twenty posts to the “reasons my son is crying” site yesterday, from “We’re walking towards the four-wheeler he wants to ride” to “He didn’t want to put his cookie down to have a drink of water but he was soooooooo thirsty.”
Anyways, sarcasm and woe aside, it was a lovely afternoon. Wacey loves to ride the four-wheeler and watch Gaucho run around, and who are we, his doting parents, to deny him simple pleasures?
Can you see the little baby? This pair is pretty well camouflaged! The mama is white (a Charolais), and the baby is light red (a Red Angus/Charolais cross).
Bert will tag and weigh this baby and give him his shots sometime today, but we left him alone with his mama to nurse and bond for his first night.
That is the face of one happy kid. He just loves to help! The tractor is his preferred vehicle, and he did have a little meltdown when he learned that Bert had already fed, but oddly enough, he seemed to recover quickly when he learned that he got to ride on the four-wheeler instead.
Gaucho loves to pen cattle. He’s not a finesse dog, but is great at gathering the herd together and making sure they all go in the pen without stressing them. He’s pretty good help, if I do say so myself–I’m glad he’ll listen to Bert, too, since I’m not working outside as much anymore and I wouldn’t want to take that away from him!
Also…he tends to get a little on the really fat side when he’s idle, even when he’s on diet food, since he’s the laziest dog on the planet when he’s not working. So, it’s good for him to get a little cardio in.
Rinse and repeat every day for the next two or three months! If you don’t like babies of any species, better just quit this blog now, because it’s going to be Baby Central round these here parts for a looooooong time. Happy Thursday!