Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: All Done
The fall run is done.
Just like that, the twelfth week of October finally came to pass, and along with it the last bunch of calves were weaned and the last bunch of cows pregged. All that is left on the cow front is to haul a trailer load or two of opens to town.
The pickups will slowly be cleaned of their stockpile of every imaginable layer of clothing. Coffee mugs will go from rolling around on floor boards to residing in kitchen cupboards again. Horses are about to get fat for the winter. Calves are starting on feed, and the cows don’t miss them.
Tallies are being copied from leather gloves, strips of paper shoved in coat pockets, and occasionally notebooks, onto the calendar. Someone somewhere is trying to read one of those strips of paper that is fresh out of the wash. Occasional arguments ensue about whether headcounts were before or after preg-checking. A couple heifer calves have solidified themselves as non-contenders for the replacement pen based on their post-weaning attitudes.
Trailers are unhooked for the first time in weeks. Three square meals a day resume, and the crock pot gets a break.
People are relaxed. Or plain worn out. It’s usually hard to tell. After weeks of rushing about navigating the weather, trucker schedules, help availability, concern over pregnancy rates, high-stress over the market on sale day, calf health, and countless other variables, it is all over.
The meeting with the banker will soon be scheduled, and things will be ironed out as best they can be on the financial front.
Regardless of how the weather played out in October, that was fall, and we are now headed into winter. Where things slow to the pace of primarily feeding cattle and checking water.
Cold-weather wardrobes are being updated, with exclamations on how much the kids have grown. Hopeful prayers are made that fair weather will hold off the start of feeding hay, and water sources will stay open for another few weeks or so.
There is something comforting found in a bunch of cows whose ancestry goes back as far as your own. Across pastures that are well known by bovine and rider alike. In knowing which cow is going to try to get away where, and that the grass will be more, or less, plentiful in years to come.
In a world that seems to have gone crazy, we are among the fortunate few who still have a real job to do to. One with occasional long days, harsh weather, dirt and dust, and tough decisions. A job with epic highs and dismal lows. With cyclical regularity, but where things are rarely the same twice.
God has certainly blessed all of us who get to participate in the fall run, and who know the sigh of pensive relief that occurs when it is all over.
Until next year.