Calm Before The Storm

I like a good blizzard. There’s something about watching the snow accumulate, about being safe inside while the wind howls, about knowing the animals are tucked away safe with plenty of feed and shelter. I like snow. It’s very important for us out here in the high plains, where spring storms make up most of the moisture we get for the year. A good blizzard can make or break the summers grazing.

As I get older though I am starting to worry more. What if the house caught on fire when the roads were blown shut and the fire department couldn’t get here? What if one of the kids gets sick or hurt and we can’t get to the hospital? It makes being snowed in a little less fun. With the storm that is coming in now the weathermen are having a little too much fun. They are enjoying their chance to forecast the storm of the decade.  Hurricane force winds, feet of snow. Hopefully they are overstating it as they usually do. If they aren’t though, if they aren’t we are starting to calve and that makes everything worse.

There is no magical “good” time to calve. Any time can be a bad time. The middle of summer whit hot weather, dust, and bugs can be harder on a newborn than snow and cold.

Last year at this time we had green grass and warm weather. Now we have blizzards, big ones. The cattle are already in the corrals where they are forced to stay in a sheltered area. Cows aren’t smart about this. Not all the time. Some cows will choose a perfect, warm, sheltered place to calve. Others will go out into the most open, wind swept place and leave the calf to die. For normal snows we’d leave them where they are. Lots of room to spread out and the tree row for shelter. For the one forecast we want them close, where we can get out to them. Where it’s even more sheltered. Where it will be closer and easier to get any calves born into a shed, try to get them warm and keep them alive.

Today we have warm weather, whether that’s a blessing or a curse it’s sometimes hard to tell. We will use it though, getting ready. The animals will use it, resting, eating, soaking up the warm.



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