Hello, We haven’t had it too bad. In fact, since we started calving, it’s been exceptionally nice. If you remember last year, April was a cold son of a gun.
We were checking cows at night and grabbing any new ones and keeping them in the tack room overnight. Then in the morning, trying to get them to mother up. If you attended any cattle sales since last fall, you saw a lot of calves that had their ears froze off. And they were the lucky ones.
But if you go a few miles south, it has been a trying and often times deadly spring. South Dakota and Nebraska have been hit week after week with devastating storms. There have been thousands upon thousands of cows and calves lost. Deadly blizzards, rainstorms, floods, you name it.
I was riding through our cows yesterday. It was a tad windy, but the grass is greening up, the calves are healthy, and they are being born on dry ground. I felt blessed.
But as I rode through the cows, I started thinking about a tough spring several years ago. I can’t remember the year. Heck, I can’t even remember what I had for supper last night. I guess I have more of that to look forward to.
Brother Bernard had came over to the ranch from the Mission. And explained to Shirley that it was the time of the year for tithing. I’m not much of a tither, if that’s a word. Shirley sent him down to the barn to see me.
I was sitting in the barn after having just lost a calf. We had lost several. In spite of living with them. I was smoking a Pall Mall and looking at that dead calf I had struggled to keep alive.
When Brother Bernard explained that it was the time of the year to give to
”God’s Share”, I pointed to a pile of dead calves and replied, “God has already gotten his share, I need the rest”. Sacrilegious I know, but it was a bad day.
The calves were getting scours and we were trying everything we could to keep them alive. We had calves in the garage and calves in the barn. Calves in the basement and skinned ones lying outside the barn door. It was a real mess.
If you picked up a real cold one, you could fill the bathtub with warm water and maybe save it. Not always, but once in awhile.
We were all busier than heck and Shirley was pouring coffee and soup in calves. I had thrown those scour pills as far as a man could throw them. Seemed like the thing to do at the time.
One of those worst days, Shirley had a lady friend from Bismarck drove up to the ranch to visit. She was doing a story about spring calving. She had envisioned these baby calves bucking and playing in the green grass, with their mothers contentedly chewing their cud and watching over their babies. Wrong.
The calves that were alive were humped up and shivering in the cold. There were a couple of dead calves stacked by the garage door. She stepped around them and went in for coffee.
But since she had quite a bit of coffee on the drive up, she politely asked Shirley where the bathroom was. Shirley was cutting up some bars and just told her it was down the hall. Thanking her, our guest hurried down the hall.
You could have heard her scream in Bismarck. She came running out and quickly told Shirley there was a dead cow in the bathtub! I guess you don’t see that often in the city! And I hope I don’t see it again.