This morning was a cold one – deep frost on the ground – frost on the backs of the cows. We started feeding as soon as we had enough sunlight to see – we knew that this morning they all needed that extra shot of protein. You know – sort of like your double shot at Starbucks. We did not have to call them up. They were waiting on us this morning.
Every morning here at the ranch is amazing. If you are looking, you will see God’s gifts everywhere. This morning, there was a giant owl in a huge oak tree. You rarely see them because they are nocturnal but it was early and I think he was trying to stall the sunrise. He looked at us as intently as we were looking at him – each studying the other. The deer were all moving this morning – across the icy creeks and the creek bottoms – inching their way to our mineral houses – or trying to snatch a little hay while the cows were lured away to our truck with the supplemental feeding. Single coyotes that had stayed out a little too long – the pack long gone into the night – also just stopped – too cold to run. Of course, the coyote did not see what we saw – a cotton tail with wide eyes deep in the recesses of a tree root. Everything seemed in slow motion this morning. The higher the sun rose – the more spectacular the drops of moisture glistened and sparkled on the fences.
Of course, our cows were not watching us from a distance. They ran to the gate when they heard our truck on the road. Every day in the calving season we are in the pastures feeding – so, hey – we are their best friends on a cold morning. The cows are either getting hay or a 20% all natural cube (a protein bar). They are all fed and counted. Cows are counted so we know that no “momma” is in trouble calving. If our counts are off by one cow – we go look for her. Calves are counted so we know they are healthy and strong – that way we can address any sickness immediately. We also need to know how many calves are born on what days for our records when it comes time to market.
It is fun to watch the calves – they have had their breakfast and still have milk on their noses – they are so full of energy – bucking – ganging up and running to the far ends of the pasture while their mothers have their head down eating. Oh my – when they look up and see that “the mini herd” has moved out without them. The cows start bawling – calling – and running after their babies. The calves are very brave in the light of day. These babies – well, as you can see – defiant – already looking for “buddies” and mischief in the day. But – when the day is done – those babies are going to be tucked in with momma for the nights warmth and security.