Most cattlemen get repaid for all of their investment of time, hard work, equipment and infrastructure maintenance and acquisition, feed and medicine and minerals, fuel and tools, land payments and taxes, veterinary and labor expenses, bull and vehicle purchases, weatherproof clothing and gear--oh, and their own meals and housing--once a year when the calves are weaned and sold.
But I don't have a head for business. To me, recompense is calving season, when the rewards are for the eyes and heart.
Meet one such reward: Pepper!
"Joy is the serious business of heaven." ~C.S. Lewis
Flame delivered Peaches at midnight. She's been bucking and racing about with joyous abandon ever since her legs could cooperate, only stopping to refuel and rest when absolutely necessary. I can only assume Peaches was a bit claustrophobic in her previous quarters.
"For freedom Christ did set us free." ~Romans 5:1 (ASV)
Blossom brought another big bull calf into the world a few days ago. Hubby promptly dubbed him Buster.
Buster has it made. Blossom, aka the Dairy Queen, has enough milk for two of three Busters. And since he discovered the comforts of the calf shed, Buster rarely leaves it. He's such a couch potato that I'm thinking we should have named him Spud.
"Is not this the kind of fasting that I have chosen:
"I thank you God for this most amazing day, for the leaping greenly spirits of trees, and for the blue dream of sky and for everything which is natural, which is infinite, which is yes." ~e.e. cummings
My favorite running trail sees far more hoof and paw traffic than foot or tire. The hills are challenging but the vistas are amazing, the flora captivating, and the horned lark ditties charming.
It's been years since I've caught a glimpse of the elusive mustangs that cross this trail. Maybe they're just over that hill, I tell myself. The fact that they're not just makes the next hill that much more inviting.
Looking northeast towards the Big Horns.
The Owl Creek Mountain range lies to the southwest.
A pronghorn track surrounded by a mustang hoofprint.
The season's first phlox blooming from beneath a sagebrush shelter.
"The earth is full of the goodness of the Lord." ~Psalm 33:5 (NKJV)
Six cows are on the short list (those whose calving hour appears most imminent) and are kept nearby for easier nighttime surveillance. Yawn. Calving season is at once the most exciting and the most wearying time of year.
Anyone want to take the midnight shift?
"The Lord will command His lovingkindness in the daytime, and in the night His song shall be with me." ~Psalm 42:8 (NKJV)
Our neighborhood bald eagles began refurbishing their nest in mid-January. Over a period of several weeks, we watched them haul in long, sturdy branches, cattail reeds, and shreds of cambium. Even from a respectful distance, we can tell that the remodel features noticeably higher walls and an upstairs deck.
The eagles have also been preying upon Canada geese, presumably for the meat but possibly also for a goose-down comforter for the chicks.
"Does the eagle mount up at your command, and make its nest on high?" ~Job 39:27 (NKJV)
When my parents named me Robin, I'm sure they couldn't foresee the avian-related nicknames that I'd earn from other kids. Even my best friend's dad, a most likable fellow whose sense of humor was influenced by his choice of beverages, regularly called me Bluebird.
Despite my name and monikers, I had eyes only for horses back then. It took birds quite a while to catch my notice. Now, although I know little about my winged relatives, I'm quite a fan--especially of mountain bluebirds.
Yesterday's unusual (for this area and time of year) sighting of mountain bluebirds set my heart soaring. My phone camera does little justice to these little beauties, but this was the first time I've ever been able to capture one--well, three-fourths of one--in flight.
"Suddenly, as rare things will, it vanished." ~Elizabeth Barrett Browning
When it comes to cattle, Wyoming is a black state. Known for their hardiness and palatability, Black Angus populate the vast majority of farms, fields, and feedlots.
Roughly 55% of our small herd are black baldies (meaning they're black with white facial markings). Since we used Hereford bulls last year, that percentage will increase dramatically by the time calving season is over. (We should even see a few red baldies thrown into the mix.)
Hubby is something of a Black Angus snob, but even he admits that our Hereford-cross cows (and especially Hereford bulls) are far more good-humored than most Angus.
I'm all for docility myself, but the artist in me adores the remarkable variation of pattern and contrast in baldy cattle. Brand me a nonconformist.
"In such a diversity it was impossible I should be disposed to melancholy." ~Daniel Boone