Six years ago we came home to the ranch from Oregon for Christmas. There was almost no snow. The temperatures were in the forties. I went hiking across the pastures and down the coulees and thought, "Wow, this global warming thing is kind of awesome." So we decided to move back to Montana.
Fast forward to March of 2008. For the first time in years, it snowed all the way through calving. We had drifts clear into April. Same thing in 2009, only worse. I didn't start this blog until March of that year, but here's a photo from that month:
Then came last year. It started snowing at Thanksgiving--cancelling my planned trip to South Dakota, thank you very much--and never stopped. By the time it was done we'd broken all kinds of records and the snowpack in Glacier National Park was so deep they didn't get the Going to the Sun highway opened up until mid July, one of the latest dates ever. Here at home, the yard looked like this in March:
By the end of calving season last year I was ready to pack it up and move south. This was not what we'd been promised during those balmy Christmas visits that lured us home. Well, I'm happy to say good old Mother Nature must have decided we were due for a break, because this winter has been wonderful. We've had snow but nothing like the last four years, and intermingled with warm sunny days that melted most of it away between storms. The yard this year on April 1st?
Ahh. Better. There's even a little green grass starting to show. Plus it's been great for calving, which is good because things have been a bit unpredictable this year. Calves started popping out a couple of weeks ahead of schedule. We're quite sure we have a clandestine visit from my Aunt Lorraine's Charolais bulls to blame. Given that we have nearly all black Angus cows and only black Angus bulls, the evidence is pretty hard to hide:
Gotta admit, though. They are danged cute.
When we were kids we each had a cow of our own. When the calf sold in the fall the money went into our savings account. We got to take our little red passbook into the bank and have the lady write the deposit in it and then the new total. I thought I was so grown up and important. I thought it was even cooler when it came time to go to college and all of those calf checks were waiting to help me buy books.
My parents gave us cows with distinctive markings so we could easily pick them out of the herd. Mine was part Holstein and had a couple of white spots. I named her Spotty Blue. When she got old we kept one of her calves, then the next, so all of my cows were her descendants and being part milk cow, they always had big fat calves. I wouldn't be surprised if some of our current cows don't have a little of old Spotty Blue in them.
Out of our crop of surprise Charolais, this is the most special of all. She's out of my husband's favorite of our herd, and she will be Logan's cow. When we sell her first calf we'll take Logan to the bank, open his savings account and deposit that first check and write it in a passbook that he'll keep in the fireproof safe under our bed, just like my parents did.
And so it goes on.
New this week over at Songs and Stories, it's all about the romance. And eye candy. Come and see. And listen, of course. Day-oh.