This morning while I was filling pails of corn from the grain bin I was greeted by our entire herd of pregnant beef cows hoping to get a treat from me. All of them, except one lined up to see if I would give in to their begging. The one who didn’t come begging had more important things to tend to. All the way across the lot I saw her anxiously coaxing her new bundle of joy, trying to convince her to have her first meal.
I quickly finished my chores in the goat barn so I could go get a better look. Wouldn’t you know it that is the cutest baby calf I have ever seen! Okay so the first calf of the year is always the most special, but this one was so tiny, barely as big as our yellow lab (who isn’t too terribly big either). I thought maybe this one looked so little because I’m not used to seeing newborn calves, after all, it has been nearly a year since we had any around here. I called Bill to go check it out and he confirmed, yup it’s a little one.
We tend to select for smaller calves that gain well once they hit the ground, it’s easier on the mamas that way. Our calves are typically 70 pounds or so when they’re born and wean at 550-650 pounds in the fall with no creep feed while on pasture. Bill’s estimate on this calf…35 pounds.
So is it a runt? Not necessarily. This little heifer calf appears to be quite healthy. When I found her this morning she was still wet from being licked off and already up and chasing after her mama. She did manage to have her first meal and by the time Bill got to her she had a full belly. Plus, this little one has an advantage being the first born, she’ll have more time to grow before most of the other calves are born.
So, now for the important part…what to name the little one. “Tiny” seems an obvious choice, but maybe someone has a more creative suggestion…lemme know!
Yes, sometimes it just takes one weekend away from home to help you realize just how much you enjoy being home. This past weekend was just that for me. Not that it was a bad or difficult weekend, it was in fact the opposite. My long weekend away began on Friday morning. In the midst of a winter storm warning I was to drive two hours to Jackpot Junction Casino where the weekend conventions were to be held. Normally, driving under such circumstances would have me very nervous but this time I was confident I would make it before the storm hit and since I was to stay for two nights the mess would be all cleaned up by the time I had to leave. Fortunately I made it to my destination ahead of the weather and got myself settled in for the weekend.
The conventions I was attending were the MN State Cattlemen’s annual convention and the MN Lamb and Wool Producers annual Shepherd’s Harvest. This is the part of my job that I love. I get to attend these conventions to support the organizations and attend seminars about the industry that will help me better serve MN farmers. As an added bonus, the topics discussed can help me learn more about my own livestock operation. It actually makes it worthwhile to put in the extra effort in planning that it takes for me to be gone for a couple of nights.
The downside of all of this is that after talking with producers about your operation and learning all sorts of new things that you want to try out at home, it really does add to the feeling of homesickness that begins to set in after a day or two away. I was happy to face dry roads and good weather for my trip home on Sunday evening. I was even happier to see that all the livestock had fared well in my absence and learn that my children were not too much of a burden to their grandparents.
I always look forward to the adventures my job takes me on. I thoroughly enjoy the preparation and anticipation but perhaps the best feeling of all it that of completeness when I return home.