Yep, we started calving last week, and this guy was one of the first to hit the ground. I took this picture Saturday. On Sunday, it snowed, which meant the end of roping practice, because the indoor arena has now become a maternity ward.
Converting from one kind of playpen to another takes a few steps. First, we drag the dirt in the arena flat and pack it with the tractor wheels so there's as little dust as possible. Then we haul in big round bales of straw, cut them open and spread them around for bedding. We put all of the roping dummies, tack and the little putt-putt arena tractor safely behind steel stock panels where the cows can't reach them. Then we patrol the whole building for anything they might chew on, taking into account the long list of things a cow considers edible, including leather straps, ropes (old-fashioned hemp, hard-twisted nylon and new-fangled bungee cords are equally delectable), plastic baling twine, bones, chunks of rusty barbed wire, batteries, electrical wiring, engine oil and anti-freeze.
Oh, yeah. And farm fertilizer. They love that stuff. A bunch of 'em chewed the gate rope off our lease pasture day before yesterday to get into the neighbor's yard, where one managed to commit suicide via nitrate poisoning.
And you think you eat stuff that's bad for you.