A Break in the Weather

Yesterday was a brief, beautiful respite from our frozen winter. The temperature soared to an amazing 24° F. The barn eaves dripped, the iced-over condensation on the indoor walls melted and fell, and I let the four-month calves outside for the first time.

First I had to dig out the electric fence buried in Saturday night’s vicious wind [photo above]. In the drifted snow the fence was only about eight inches high, and shorted to dead strings. After an hour of digging, post-holing, and wads of cold snow down my boots, I had a weak 3000-volt charge all the way around the paddock. Not ideal, but it would have to do.

I let the steer calves, Luke Bryan and Conway Twitty (named by country music fans of different generations), out to join the herd. The calves stepped gingerly into the white stuff they had never seen or felt… and took off.



Though they’ve run up and down the long sheep stall, and in and out of all the stalls while I’m mucking the barn…


… they had never had so much room to get up speed. Such fun!


The unaccustomed warmth had the big boys feeling mellow. They chased the calves a bit to investigate but soon returned to their hay.

The little boys kept running. Whee!


A brief pause at Moxie to see if she wanted to nurse them again after all this time. No.


Conway stopped to inspect the water trough alongside Harvey, the leader of the young guns.


Next both boys trotted through the snow to check out the run-in shelter.


But mostly it was a day for running and bucking.


By evening chores the calves were tuckered out and happy to come in with the gang.

Today’s high will be -6° with a -28° windchill, so they’ll be stuck inside again.


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