Thursday, June 20, 2013

Oh the weather outside is frightful...

After some hot days in the 80s, we suddenly switched into a last blast of winter. It rained yesterday but it poured today -- a drenching sideways rain with howling wind.

I was concerned about Ruby, one of our herd matrons. From the looks of her udder, she's due to calve next. Ruby is an experienced mother and normally I wouldn't worry about her having her calf out in the field, but I didn't want a baby born in adverse weather as was predicted. So yesterday we pulled her into the barn and corral. Here she is, looking sulky, standing out in the rain.

Here's her udder, bagging but not yet turgid (which happens a few hours before birth).

This morning the weather disintegrated into positively wintry conditions -- high winds and drenching rain.

It was a decidedly chilly 42F outside...

...and an even chillier 60F inside.

I finally gave in and started a fire in the woodstove.

But I felt very bad for the livestock. The pasture doesn't have a lot of shelter, and the dominant animals took over the one loafing shed we have. This mean the less dominant animals (including the calves) were out in that drenching rain.

So early this morning Don and I decided to give the critter access to the new barn. We removed two cattle panels which had been blocking access and used them to partition off the small bales we didn't want destroyed.

Then over the roar of the wind and rain, I yelled "Bossy bossy bossy bossy BOSSY!!!!," which is our universal cattle call. Within moments, animals came thundering up from the pasture.

They had no idea why we'd called them up, but it took mere moments to notice the barn was available. Matilda figured it out first.

Soon most of the critters were under cover or at least had shelter available. Notice the water droplets on my camera lens?

But wait -- where were Polly and the calves? A wet walk through the pasture (remind me to patch that crack in my right boot so my sock doesn't get soaked) revealed that they'd taken over the loafing shed since the dominant animals had vacated it. The calves were drenched and shivering.

So I shooed them out and, without further prompting, they made a beeline for the barn.

By the time I came back in the house, I was pretty drenched too.

When I checked in on everyone later, the babies were bedded down in the straw, chewing their cud, looking vastly happier.

By afternoon the wind had died, but the rain was still coming down. The temperature barely budged all day.

But the calves were dry. And durned cute too.

We'll keep the barn open until the weather moderates, probably by this weekend.


  1. 'Ya did good! They all look warm, cozy and just adorable. We had a fire going for two days last week - I hope it will be the last one until fall!

  2. I love your posts Patrice. Your calf colony sure is growing fast this year. I hope Ruby and her calf stay close. I was wondering where your bull hangs out. It has been decades since I have been around a small herd and I always saw them kept away from the cows during certain times of the year.

  3. Patrice,

    Talk about radical change of weather, it's a good thing you moved the cows to the barn. This must of been a slice of heaven for them with access to food, water, and warmth. I would love some of that cool weather down here, ship it this way please :-)

  4. I find it interesting that you think the 80s is "hot". We live in Central FL... we air condition our house to 80F. I think of temps in the 70's as "cool" and the low to mid 80s as "comfortable". Temps in the 90s are just normal for me. But, I would HIGHLY object to temps in the 40s in June... brr! :)

    1. It is all dependent on your point of reference, eh?

      We moved from a cooler climate to TX for one year and the school I worked at wanted the children to wear jackets when the temps hit 70, having dropped from over 100. We had moved from a climate where the fall highs were mid 60's and no one wore a jacket.

      Now, I can often get by with a heavy weight black turtle neck on sunny windless days in the high 20's while working outside. No humidity where I live and the snow is generally sandlike. Coats are ALWAYS worn to begin with but manual labor causes people to shed layers even in very cold conditions. My daughter is visiting from the midwest and she's cold and wearing a jacket and I am in shorts and t-shirt. It was 51 degrees this morning when we drank our coffee and chatted outside. I was almost melting yesterday when I drove to town, over 1500 ft. elevation drop, and it was low 80's.

      It's all perspective and acclamation.


  5. You telling about calling out "Bossy, bossy..." as your universal cattle call brought back memories. We always used Rawhide as our call to bring in the horses. That was the name of our half Clydesdale and he was boss of the pasture. Even after he was gone, we continued to use his name to call in the horses.

  6. 42 degrees! Ouch! Here in the south it's more like sauna weather. 94 degrees and 82 percent humidity...on a good day. Trade ya half of mine for half of yours. Then we should both be a bit more comfortable. Good job on the cattle. Nothing more miserable for a farmer than having miserable animals. They look all warm and snug in the barn. Curl up by the fire with a hot cuppa and enjoy yourself. You deserve it.

  7. Well, you've made me feel somewhat least it's been 50 here.

    Not saying much, is it?

    Another cool, soggy Juneuary comes and (I hope to goodness)goes.

    A. McSp

  8. Those calves are so incredibly cute! We're in for a cold spell next Monday according to reports: 77 degrees. Brrrr....

  9. Last night I was talking with a friend about how cold and rainy it was in Northern Idaho & it was warmer where they were. Is everything better with the sun today?

  10. Would happily swap your weather for ours, just now. :)

    (Seriously...every time you post anything that mentions the weather where you are, I have to consciously remind myself that Envy is a mortal sin. Our next day when it doesn't reach well into the 80s -- if not beyond -- is likely to be in September at least.)

  11. We're in for some heavy mowing this coming week .. lawn and weeds .. your animals look so cozy now.

  12. Look at those ears! The calves are darling!