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Sentinel Butte, North Dakota

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Spring is here!

Spring is here in the badlands. Our winter remained mild which was good and bad. It was easy the animals and people. However, it has left us in the
uneasy position of being terribly short of moisture.
Driving across a pasture makes you think twice due to the fire danger. It seems like we have a "red flag" day for fire danger two or three times weekly due to high winds, low humidity and warm temps.
Even though it was dry the wild crocus blessed us with their beauty again. Their appearance is always something to anticipate as winter draws to a close. They are starting to fade in number now as we reach mid-April.

On March 17, we unofficially started calving. This was three weeks early and did not get us off to a very good start. We lost a cow which had problems calving as well as her calf and also another calf that same day. A few days later we lost another calf. The calves looked to be full term, so we are thinking one of the neighbors' bulls came to visit before we turned our bulls out.
Our first heifer calved just a few days early,unassisted, out in the pasture. Since that time, all but one of our heifers have calved. Of those, only one needed help. She had a huge bull calf that didn't survive. We grafted a calf belonging to an old cow that had prolapsed onto the heifer. The calf and heifer are now a happy pair.

As of today, we are not quite a quarter done calving our cows. Every morning is a treat to see how many new arrivals we have and see how much the calves born in the days previous are growing. The dry weather has proved to be great for calving. Last year, in the last two days of April, we had a horrible blizzard. We were fortunate that we had our cattle located where we did and they were in good shape. While others lost large numbers of cows and calves we didn't lose any. The moisture would be welcome but not with such disastrous consequences. 

The weather forecast is calling for rain tonight and tomorrow. I sure hope it doesn't skip around us!
My agenda for today includes a trip to town to the vet for my good mare, Kalin, who is lame in her right front foot for some reason. A few weeks ago, one of our older horses was diagnosed with a navicular problem in both front feet. Not a good prognosis in the long term. Hopefully, Kalin's problem is minor and temporary. Two of our horses are heading north to Williston, ND in the next week or so. Our granddaughter will be using one of them in 4-H this summer. I'm sure that will provide lots of photos and fun things for her grandma to blog about!


gtyyup said...

Sad to loose critters...hope it's all behind you. The calves do look good though!! And it's always nice to get some spring blooms!

Shirley said...

You're back! Love the header photo. Hope the rest of calving season goes well, and you get rain instead of snow.

Jake said...

Hope you have a good calving season and get the rain we badly need.

laverne said...

So glad your back!