One of the busiest times of year is in full swing. All the cows are having their calves! Here is a picture of the first calf of the "season". It came on February 20 and this is the 3rd year in a row that the first calf has come on Feb 20! Seems to be a lucky day!
A few days after that we had a good ol' fashion cattle drive. Not really. It wasn't old fashioned by any means, but it was a cattle drive I guess. We had to move a group of cows from one place to the next and it was about a 3 mile trip down the county road. But before we even left the first gate 2 trucks had already gotten stuck in the snow, so the tractor had to come to the rescue!
Once we were up and running again, we had the feed pick up in the front leading the cows with the magic bale of hay that they'll follow anywhere. Behind the cows Wes and Tye had another pick up and the Rhino (kinda like the Mule). It was a slow walk but there was no major trouble, so thats always nice. They keep all the cows together in one place affectionately known as "The Calving Lot", so we had to get them there. Let me just tell you that if someone made me walk 3 miles down a windy, hilly, county road when I was a week away from having a baby I'd be MAD. But these ladies kept the pace pretty good and didn't seem to upset by the FULL TERM PREGNANCY WORKOUT. I couldn't get many good pictures from the front of the "train" but here's one out the window.
We rode in the feed pick up with Kory and Jaylie got to try her hand at driving.
Quinn got to stare at himself in the side view mirror. And if you know Q, you know there's not many things he likes more than seeing his own reflection.
It was a beautiful sunny day and we were glad we got to ride along.
Now switch gears to the opposite of beautiful and sunny. Below freezing temps, relentless winds making for wind chills in the -30s. Not cool. And as you can imagine a snow covered ground in -30 temps is no place for a newborn calf. So Kory and Tye were literally watching the cows 24 hours for about 4 days. The kids and I packed up and headed out to stay at the ranch (Tye's house) so that we could at least be together and the guys could eat (that's where my value lies at a time like this....meals). Thankfully it was early in the calving and only a few were born during those crazy cold days.
I went along for the ride to check with Tye the first night the storm blew in and Kory thought we looked so good he wanted to take our picture. This picture is proof that all bets are off when it comes to fashion in this kind of weather. And I also wished I had a beard like Tye because my face almost froze off. Seriously. If they thought a cow was close to having a baby, they'd get her into the shed/barn where they were out of the wind and had lots of straw to keep everyone warm. A couple of times a cow had one before they could get her in so they snatched that baby up and brought him in to the shed and brought mama in after him. It was an intense weekend for the guys. Hopefully no more of those temps this year!
While the raging wind blew like crazy, we stayed inside and my kids got to watch enough TV to turn their brains into mush. And jjp decided to give her big brother a nurturing, loving, back rub while they watched Dora. She really was like "mothering" him. Hilarious.
Rewind to January, a few weeks after we moved here, Kory and I went to Billings to get some stuff at WalMart and other things we needed after the move and stuff. We were about an hour from home that night on our way back and we got pulled over. The deputy gave us a warning for having a head light out. Kory's Texas driver's license sparked a conversation that led to ranch talk. He asked if we were calving yet and we said no that we did that in March/April. Then he looked at me and said, "Ma'am have you ever had a calf in your bathtub?" That was his welcome/preparation/warning/joke to me as I'm entering my rookie season in this ranching game. We all laughed and I assured him that I was fully aware that saving a calf's life trumped just about everything else....... Now back to the super cold weekend......they had a little guy that got too cold so they brought him in to the mudroom and filled the sink up with super hot water and warmed him up. (This room is built just for stuff like this so no one had to share their tub with the calf that night)
klp got to go on a night check with us one night. He stayed warm and toasty in the pickup.
In between checks, we decided to play a game of Wa-Hoo. We couldn't find the marbles. So we played with trail mix. Blue and orange M&M's, peanuts, and raisins. It worked quite well. I texted this to my mom and told her what happened. Her witty reply was "Y'all have lost your marbles." ha!
The kids were all snug in bed so we all 3 went out to check late one night.
This picture was taken upon Kanyon's request. "Mom! I'm holding her, take our picture!"
We made it through that weekend fine and hopefully have kissed those nasty temps goodbye. One day it was pretty and sunny so after we picked klp up from school we headed out to ride around and check things out with Daddy, Uncle Tye , and Chief (....and Gram was there too! PAR-TAY!)
Jaylie took her nap inside, but the boys took theirs in the back of the pickup. I didn't know they were asleep until I heard Q snoring.
This picture was taken upon Quinn's request. I think they've caught on to the fact that I always take their picture holding Jaylie or something cute like that. Now they let ME know when the photo-opps happen.
This has been a very busy time for the guys but I think despite the stress and intensity, long LONG hours, lack of sleep and non stop action, they are enjoying it. I'm just glad we can be along for the ride some of the time!