Cold snap not at all welcome

As a kid, we started calving pretty much any time after Christmas! In fact, I think we had a calf or two on Christmas Day.
I have never forgotten the long month of January that Nanny always dreaded. It was the longest month, and it was cold and snowy. I wondered why we calved then but was too unsure to understand the reasons.
Slowly we moved our calving dates back, though it wasn’t so much of the fact it was cold and winter-like as much as Nanny felt bad that the cows had so much time to raise these calves before they ever saw green grass.
Now on my own, I decided to calve closer to the middle of February. My bulls are with the cows for 60 days, which means my cows should be finished calving by the middle of April and for me, this suits my off-farm job.
I also thought that by the middle of February, we should start to see less-severe weather. Alas, this has not been the case the last couple of years.
This latest cold snap certainly is not welcome as it creates a lot more work and stress—and a lot less sleep! I have a full barn and the shed attached to my barn is full of cows that are as close as the ones in the barn.
I tried to bring in the ones that I felt are the closest but you just never know (I’m getting a good workout with all that poop to shovel!)
Heifers, which are first-time calvers (two years old), sometimes require assistance or they are the ones that might require some extra attention. I only have two heifers left and that is a relief.
On Saturday, one of my older cows had a set of twins. The heifer came first, weighing in at 82 pounds, followed by a cute little bull. He only weighed 57 pounds and looks like something I should bring in the house!
They both are doing well, but I’d like to keep them in a little longer since this mama has a big job ahead of her and that little bull could get lost in a snowbank.
So things are moving along. But as I leave the house every couple of hours to check on things, and your skin is tingling in this cold weather, I wonder every trip whether I should change my calving time.
We, as the farmer, control breeding but there are so many things to consider when making changes like this!
• • •
Maddie and Marlee were in a hockey tournament in Emo over the weekend but I only was able to sneak a way for one game.
Their team won the tournament and they’ve certainly had a great season.
They made their way back to the farm after hockey for a calf tour. One of Maddie’s special cows had calved and they both still were in the barn, so the girls spent their time cuddling with her.
There is always a calf or two that enjoy a little more attention from people, and it seems like this one might be one of these for this year.
It was too cold to do much outside of the barn, and we also didn’t want to startle the calves that were outside in their pens since we’d rather see them in the calf huts than outside battling the frigid weather.
• • •
The first week of March looks to be a busy one with all kinds of great things happening.
The Nor-West Animal Clinic is hosting a beef information night on March 3 at 7 p.m. at the Emo Legion.
Then on March 4 from 1-4 p.m., the Rainy River Future Development Corp. is hosting a business information session, during which it will be sharing all the funding opportunities that are out there for everyone.
March 6-7 have been scheduled for Environmental Farm Plan Sessions. Even if you have completed an EFP prior, it is now out-of-date and time to update.
Having a completed EFP for your plan is a very smart, proactive thing to do. It is like that great little tool you need to have on your résumé.
And finally, the Rainy River District 4-H Awards Night is set for Friday, March 6 at 7 p.m. at the Millennium Hall in Stratton.
If you need any information on these events, feel free to get in touch with me.

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