They go together like peas and carrots. Most producers are diving or preparing to dive headlong into this calving season, and as they stock up on milk replacer and sleep – the season will also come with a need for plenty of caffeine, and encouragement from the Good Book.
Calving season is fraught with blood, sweat, and lots of tears. The millions of calves that arrive each spring across this country, are the lifeblood of another year in providing one of the main food sources for the world. It is a thankless job, no glamour about it. But, it is filled with immeasurable feelings of gratitude for the life given and lived, and the collective appreciation for living a life involved in animal husbandry.
It is hard to describe the feelings that come with watching new life enter this world, as I see it happen upwards of 10, 20, or 30 times a day. Watching a cow nurture that new life within moments, and seeing a calf embrace its new life by clambering to its feet within an hour of birth to find the nourishment to live. Much the same, it is hard to describe the pain of grief and loss when mother nature and human fall short in preserving the life of those who are born dead or overcome with frailties or illness at birth. When the weather man predicts cold and snow, a rancher bites his lip and mentally runs through checklists in preparation, knowing fully well that all the best laid plans are often not enough. And when darkness comes, in driving snow and wind, he or she clings tightly to a steaming mug of Joe and faith in Jesus to weather the storm.
In my 37 years, there have been plenty of sunny days and stormy squalls each spring. As an adult, I have tried to capture the memories with my novice camera eye. The photos are not perfect, but they do tell the story. Reflection on them reminds us to stay strong on the bad days, and celebrate the good days.
As calving season 2016 arrives full throttle, I implore you to remember the thousands of men and women who dedicate themselves to the profession of feeding the world. They rush headlong into this season of life, often to the tune of little sleep, no social life, and will nurse their own illness and wounds that inevitably come along the way. At the end of it all, there will be tens of thousands of new lives across this great state, sunning themselves in the lush spring grasses while their masters sit back to catch their breath for a moment, and give thanks for coffee, calving, and Jesus.