It is May, a month for celebrating Mothers, planting gardens, and branding calves. Not necessarily in that order.
Almost a year ago, I sat down at my computer and produced a list. A list of 25 truths, that form the foundation of my life philosophy. Twenty-five little statements, that I hope my children will grow into and embrace. I wrote them down for myself, as well as my children. I wrote them to remind myself, what I value. I wrote them to remind myself, how I was raised. I did not anticipate the response this list would receive from all of you. Ranchers, farmers, horse people, and city-folk alike responded to the list with overwhelming enthusiasm. Thank you.
The continued interest in this post and this blog, has swept me off my feet. It has opened doors to previously unattainable opportunities and brought new friends into my life. I don’t know what direction I will take. I do know that these three, my loves, will be accompanying me. As for the rest of you, thank you for your interest and support. May our paths cross someday.
If you put new tires on your pickup, you’ll want to take a road-trip.
You’ll load your friends and their belongings.
They’ll probably feel giddy, so they’ll want to take pictures. They’ll ask you to join them.
You’ll set your camera run run very fast. The pictures may be a bit blurry, so you’ll have to try again.
You’ll keep driving, they’ll see irresistible photo opportunities too special to pass by. So you’ll stop.
When you have taken more pictures, you will load the pickup again and drive some more. When you drive, they will get tired and ask you to stop.
You’ll pull into a local joint. Then they’ll want to take pictures. So you’ll get your camera. When they see the picture, they’ll ask you to take more.
You’ll get back in the vehicle and drive. You’ll reach the highway and you’ll probably drive too fast. You’ll have to turn around and they’ll pick up the contents of a tote that were scattered by the wind.
On the way, you’ll see a Basque restaurant. They’ll want to stop and eat lamb chops, so you’ll stop and eat too much.
Eating too much makes you tired, so you’ll want to find a bed. So you drive some more.
In the morning, you’ll wake up to hot coffee, good friends, and a beautiful high desert sunrise.
It feels so good, you’ll do it all over again.
In the midst of Spring heifer calving, my husband headed to camp to gather cattle for several days. I assured him I could handle any difficulties that arose and sent him on his way. The weather was mild, thus I did not need to worry about frozen newborns. The grass was greening up, which helps reduce the need for late night checks. I was confidant it would be an uneventful week.
Life is like that. The moment you become complacent or over-confidant, something arises to shake you up. Monday morning, my kids and I had errands and appointments in town, so I only had time for a cursory check of the heifers. Upon returning that afternoon, I saddled my horse, filled my pockets with eartags, and headed out. Calves frolicked among the heavily pregnant heifers on the feed ground, their mothers registered discomfort with my proximity with a snort and a shake of the head. There were no freshly hatched calves to be tagged, but several heifers were in the early stages of labor and one troublesome Hereford heifer was in serious need of attention.
The boss and I had run her in several days earlier for a cursory obstetrics examination, despite her obvious discomfort we didn’t observe additional signs of labor. We unceremoniously turned her back out with her cohort. Upon gathering her this second time, I found very large calf in an a-typical presentation, obstructing a smaller than desired birth canal. There was little to be done for the calf. However, the heifer could be saved, so I called the vet. With his assistance the calf was delivered and the cow will recover.
It is easy after an experience like this, to begin questioning every decision you make. In the successive days, fifteen additional calves were born healthy, without assistance. I sat quietly on my horse and watched several of them make their entrance into the world. Each time, fighting the urge to herd their mother into the barn and act the midwife for each of them, should some unforeseen difficulty arise. Although, I know more often than not, that nature knows best.
Life is like calving heifers, both experiences are wrought with success and failure, pain and joy. If you do it right the positive outweighs the negative. If it does not, you learn to carefully, cultivate gratitude for that which is good. In the wake of the bombing in Boston, I find it essential to say thank you for all that is good within my life. Thank you, thank you, thank you. My thoughts are with those affected by this thoughtless tragedy.
In case you’ve missed my earlier posts, it is Spring! Undoubtedly my favorite time of year. Though the wind is blowing and we’re facing scattered showers presently, we enjoyed a few gloriously warm (60F+) days last week. So my helpers and I, took a little jaunt around the horse pasture, to enjoy the heat and search for wily, wild asparagus.
I love the first warm days of Spring. As if a switch has been flipped, plants and animals shake off their drowsy Winter appearances. Green appears in surprising places and the air is filled bird song and horse hair. This day was no exception. It was a pleasant, but fruitless jaunt. I only located three stalks of Spring asparagus. The tender spears were so enticing, I gave in and ate my plunder before I made it back to my kitchen.
Rough Legged Hawk
The birds begin steadily reappearing with the shifting seasons. Their names become a handwritten chain in my journal, used to measure the year. Every new sighting, tangible evidence why this lifestyle is satisfying to me.
Our weather has been a beautiful springy mix of clouds and sun, hovering at near perfect temperatures this past week. The only thing that could improve theses beautiful grass-greening days for us, agrarians, is a touch of moisture. An auspicious prelude to the season, despite the horror of Daylight Savings time. Whose idea was this springing forward nonsense anyhow?
Inspired by the changing seasons, a dear friend of mine started an exercise group for the local ladies. Several days a week, when my horse and I aren’t poking around the local feedlot, I meet the gals for a cardio kick-in-the-pants. Apparently, I have been kidding myself believing that opening and closing gates from horseback is a substantial workout.
Despite the aching muscles and weary lungs, the time I spend sweating with my friends is the highlight of my day. I don’t know if it is the laughter or the exercise, I feel more energetic and making good food choices is easier. On the other hand, it could be the money at stake. Quien sabe? Either way, I am grateful.
Another sign of spring, the crazy traffic on our local road. Take a look.
Traveling with children is always chaotic.
Like all tourists on rural roads, they got a little turned around. (Psst, Coop your lead rope is dragging!!).
It all works out in the end. It might have had something to do with Tank‘s expert help.
I hope this finds you all well. I’d love to know how you prepare for the changing of the season?