Saturday, May 26, 2012

It Has Been a Short Year

My how the time flies!  Seems like just yesterday we were putting cows out to winter pasture and now here it is almost summer.  We have been busy, but it has been an awfully good spring. 

Weaning went so well and with so few sick calves, I guess that's why it seemed to go so fast.  If you have lot's of trouble and bad weather, the hours pass like days, but when things go well, time passes quickly.

Winter brought us one big snow.  We had 18 inches of light snow by the time that day was over.  It seemed to be pretty much localized to our little part of the county.  Further north or west, there were just a few inches of snow.  Thankfully, the wind didn't blow too badly during the storm so the drifts weren't too bad.  We had purchased a 4 wheel drive tractor a year ago and a big loader for it this year.  That made things MUCH easier to get around so I didn't have to sit around stewing about the cows not getting fed.  Several bunches were "snowed under", meaning they got in a hole and the snow got so deep around them they didn't think they could get out.  For one bunch, Matt and I had to make a trail on foot for them to follow us out because it was on a side hill that would have been too dangerous to take the tractor.  But within a day or two, the temperatures warmed up and the snow started melting.  It left us with some good moisture for spring grass.

Calving started off on the wrong foot.  The first ten days of calving out heifers, I pulled at least one everyday.  The upside to that was the purchase of that great maternity pen I talked about.  And then, after those ten days, I don't think I pulled or lost another calf.  Out in the cows, there was less of the crazy things that can go wrong, the weather was VERY cooperative making things go well.

We had an unusually warm spring with nice rains instead of snow.  The grass started to come on much earlier than usual, which allowed us to stop feeding hay to the cows much earlier than usual....saving us time and money!  This also helped the cows pick up earlier than usual and made them start cycling earlier.  All good things.

Branding day sort of snuck up on me, on account of how well things had been going.  It just seemed like time went by so quickly that it didn't seem like it should be time to brand the calves.  But brand them we did and I'd have to say we had as good of a crew to help as we have ever had.  

There was a little glitch in my smooth spring when we started trying to get our water ready in our South summer pastures.  A tornado had gone through several months before and I had not gotten down there to really look things over as soon as I should have.  One windmill tower and motor was damaged extensively and required quite a lot of repair.  A new well had to be put in another pasture and several tanks had to be set.  (the new well and tanks weren't due to the tornado, just things that had been put off too long and couldn't be put off any longer).......and then we didn't get any wind to fill the tanks after we got everything fixed!! 

Yesterday, we finally got the first bunch of pairs South.  Everything traveled well and we had the perfect cool weather, albeit a bit damp for my taste, for cows and calves to travel.  This morning, I'll go see if everything stayed where we put them and fix anything that didn't.  Then it will be off to get another bunch ready to go the first of the week.
It won't be more than a couple of weeks and we'll be cutting our alfalfa for the first time.  It will be much earlier than usual too.  If we don't get hail or an early frost, we might get an extra cutting from it, which will be nice if we happen to have a bad winter next year.

Next year??  How is it that I'm already thinking of that?