The Fickleness of April

Oh the lovely fickleness of an April day. ~W.H. Gibson

Fickle is defined as an adjective meaning likely to change or causally changeable, irresolution and instability. This seems an appropriate way to think of April and ranching as individuals. The combination of the two can make for an adventure!

The past week we have had wind, sun, rain, blue skies with big puffy clouds, and fog. The wind blew in a rain front that settled in and filled the rain gauge to 1.05″! We feel blessed with this awesome and much needed moisture. The next day the sun came out and the calves dried off.

The rainy day made for extra work calving as we hauled in several cold wet babies. It was well worth the additional effort to get such a priceless rain. Moreover, we are really glad for temperatures in the 40’s making the moisture rain and not snow.

This time of year it’s a game of “musical pastures.” Thursday morning we got the second summer pasture group filled. This meant it was time to move the cows back to the “Buck” pasture. The third summer pasture group of pairs get kicked out into the “Milk Cow” pasture. Before we could put pairs in there we had to move the replacement heifers to the “Bull” pasture. After all the cattle shuffling we tagged and moved pairs out of the barn. Busy days like this are some of my favorite.

We are still getting a nice drop of calves, but the cows have slowed down calving. The down hill swing of calving is here and thoughts of branding are in the air.

Between the two good rains we’ve had and warm temperatures, the yard was looking shaggy. J got the mower serviced and ready to go. Saturday J’s Mom and I mowed the yards and around the out buildings. It seems early to be mowing, but it looks much better around here.

Last Tuesday I developed a scratchy throat. I felt good, but my throat was sore. I thought I was allergic to the Easter Lily J’s Sister’s family got for me. Wednesday I took an allergy pill to dry up my nose. It did dry me up, but the result was congestion and pressure in my head. By Thursday J told me to face the fact “Rob you have a head cold!” I’ve been working through the congestion side of things and Saturday developed a deep cough. The combination of poor sleep and trying to keep up my normal work load probably hasn’t helped me kick this cold faster. Yesterday, I took it easy. After chores I curled up on the couch and rested. Just what my body needed.

Here are the last two books I read. They are excellent. Finding Rebecca by Eoin Dempsey, is about a boy and a girl who grow up on the Jersey Island (14 miles from the Cotentin Peninsula at Normandy, France). The two soon developed a life long friendship and love. Rebecca was of Jewish heritage and mandated to register with the Reich. She and her father were shipped off to Nazi work camps. Christopher became an SS Officer at Auschwitz. He does so to get in on the inside hoping to find Rebecca and save her from death.

Carry On: A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and an Unlikely Family. This is a true story written by Lisa Fenn who was a producer for ESPN. Leroy and Dartanyon grew up in extreme poverty in Cleveland, OH. Leroy lost his legs in a train accident while walking to school as an 11-year-old boy. Dartanyon is legally blind. A high school wrestling coach saw potential in these two disabled teens and got them out on the mat. The boys formed an unbreakable friendship that caught the attention of Lisa. While doing the feature story about Leroy and Dartanyon these boys captured the heart of Lisa. She helps the boys through many life struggles, challenges and unforeseen events to overcome poverty and accomplish great things.

Casually changeable feels like a better description of April than instability. The weather may more than causally change, but spring is like that. As long as we get rain type moisture followed by sunshine, there will be no complaints here. The ranch work will casually change from a priority of calving to getting calves branded, summer pasture fence fixed and trailing pairs to grass. The replacement heifers will need a pre-breeding shot soon.

There are few dull moments during spring on a ranch. But, I am thankful for a lazy Sunday to rest and recharge.

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5 Responses to The Fickleness of April

  1. Kim's County Line says:

    We are playing “fruit basket upset” with cattle right now, too, as we start moving cows and calves to pasture. On Friday, we kept moving cattle in and out of pens to get them situated and where we needed them to go. By the end of the day, Randy said they should know where to go! It was very windy today! It made for a dirty job. I hope it’s not as windy tomorrow.

  2. Bonnie says:

    I hope you get feeling better. Nothing more annoying than a cold. Sounds like you have been keeping busy. Glad to here you got moisture. We are resigned to the fact that we are supposed to get ten inches of snow. Good to see all of the baby calves.

  3. Pamela Galindo says:

    I hope by the time you read this, you are feeling much better. Here in the central Valley of California, we’ve gone from temps in the mid-80’s down to the 50’s and we’ve had wind…and more wind in the week ahead which aggravates my allergies like crazy. I had so wanted to re-pot my container garden, but I think I’ll try to avoid the wind for now. This coming weekend is our yearly rodeo and today was an event to get everyone excited for the rodeo… it was steer wrestling. I really enjoyed reading of life on your ranch….you have a wonderful way of describing things.

  4. Alica says:

    Ugh, being sick is no fun. I hope you’re feeling better by now! Rest is hard to come by on the farm…I’m glad you got a chance to get some! Sounds like a busy, busy time of year for you.

  5. Brig says:

    We have had a very fickle spring with lots of rain, a blessing for sure. The North wind has been howling for two days, and shattered the oats. Doesn’t take long for the knolls to brown up when that wind blows. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to start irrigating too soon.
    Everyone here is busy marking and branding like crazy.
    If you don’t mind my asking, where are you in S Dakota? I have lots of family (on my dad’s side) in Milesville, Phillip, and some in Rapid.

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