Tuesday, March 7, 2017
As I mentioned yesterday, I journeyed north to the sale barn. My brother and I were on the road not long after the sun climbed above the increasingly east-southeast horizon.
Before we left, just as the sky was brightening into day, I was out tagging and vaccinating a new heifer calf. When I first spied them, mom and calf were trotting toward the lee of a nearby treeline to shelter from the rising breeze. The calf was still just a touch wet and I marveled at her ability to motor along with such grace a bare hour or so into her new earthly existence.
I thought for a moment that her agility would make her hard to catch, but as soon as the pair gained shelter the petite little heifer folded her long legs and lay down to recharge. As I've mentioned before, calves are born with tiny energy reserves. It takes a few days for them to get the whole metabolism turned on and to stoke the bunkers.
I was able to walk right up to the pair, and while the cow was concerned about her baby she wasn't in the least bit aggressive. Which is always nice. A little jab and a little snap and the calf was tagged and vaccinated. Then it was time to head north.
We drove through a proper gale, too, for as beautiful as the weekend was, Monday was redolent with the presence of late winter on the High Plains. It was frosty cold, about 20 degrees. The wind was a point or two north of due west, driving and shredding mottled grey snow-bellied clouds a few hundred feet above the ground.
Sustained at 45 and gusting 65 mph, the wind made the day one of those raw March days which are less than completely pleasant.
At the sale barn we checked in and got pen numbers for the cows we were interested in. Then we returned to the gale and made our way through a maze of holding pens and alleyways. We found the cows and they looked good.
The cows weren't due to sell until noon, so we did some running around in the big city, then returned to the sale barn and found good seats at the sale ring. They were just finishing selling weighup cattle so I got a bit of video.
When it came time to bid, we were the only serious contenders, so we got a very good price. Sometimes it works that way. I'd have liked to get some video of us actually bidding on the cows, but there's too much going on for me to be able to both buy and film. Maybe I need a cameraman!
Then it was time to write a check, sign papers, and call for a truck to deliver the cows for us. Because the winds were so fierce the truck driver wanted to delay until early morning, which was fine and made perfect sense.
At 6:10 a.m. this morning the truck arrived and the new cows filed off in a nice, quiet, orderly fashion.
I'll give them a couple of hours in the corral to decompress from the stress of transportation, then I'll kick them out with the rest of the herd.
They look even better this morning than they did yesterday. They'll begin calving in 10 days or so. Exciting times!