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Raising animals is not for the faint of heart, unfortunately there can be days like today that have us on bended knee and asking why.

I got a phone call on my way home from work that one of our cows had lost a set of twins. We had been taking bets on how many calves we thought she had inside of her because of her growing belly.

She had given us a set of twins a couple of years ago and we knew there was probably more than one calf inside of her based on her growing middle. Unfortunately, she wasn’t actually due until the end of May so these babies were born way too early, leaving us wondering why and what could have gone wrong.

So on a day like today I found myself on bended knee as I took the lifeless little bodies to the creek pasture to return them to the earth. I thanked the good Lord for giving us the opportunity to do our part, I asked for peace for their momma, and I asked for peace in our hearts as we struggle and wondered what we could have done differently.

Loss sucks, loss of life hurts us as producers, because there’s nothing better for us than seeing a live calf on the ground drinking from its mother and continuing the cycle of life. We work hard to take care of these animals in the cold, snow,  mud, and on the sunny days, too.

Second, it’s hard for the mama to understand. She is out of sorts and unsure of what is going on. As I watched her tonight, she just wasn’t her usual self.  She did get up and eat though which is a good sign that she is healthy.

Third, there is loss of income, in this case we lost two calves that would have grown to provide us with a paycheck and provide food for other families.

So tonight as I type this I keep reminding myself that this is nowhere near the tragedy that our friends to the west have been facing, but it is is a reminder that not all days on the farm are full of sunshine and roses.  

From the gravel road-

Jen

We are surviving! We are in lots of layers, but we are surviving. Tonight when I went out to do chores I wore Under Armor long underwear, flannel lined Carhartt jeans, Charhartt bibs, a Carhartt coat, neck and face cover, stocking cap, Thinsulate work gloves, cotton gloves underneath and Muck boots. 🙂

Just like clockwork on her due date our heifer went into labor. (What first time mom doesn't dream of going on her due date?) We are so blessed that my parents allowed us to move the heifers into their horse barn for this cold snap. We have a barn, but nothing that would keep them as warm as the horse barn.

I noticed yesterday afternoon that the heifer was acting just a little "off." Yesterday evening we started cleaning out the stalls and getting them some fresh bedding. Within moments of throwing just a little clean straw in her pen she laid down. I knew right away that she was going to be calving because that is just not her normal personality. We finished bedding and went into eat supper. We started to see feet around 9:00, but she was working real hard to get the calf delivered. Around 10:30 we made the decision that she needed just a little assistance. She was one very tired momma, but out came a healthy bull calf that has a beautiful blaze on his face.

We decided to name this little bull calf, Chilly Willy. We thought that was the perfect name to a baby born during this Polar Vortex. He was up this morning nursing like a champ!

It is getting colder and colder by the minute here in the Midwest and I ask that you continue to pray for those out in the elements. I just read a bit ago that the United States Postal Service is suspending delivery in many areas and read another funny meme that Iowa is closed. HA HA

The girls did get 14 minutes of snow play time in yesterday. 14 minutes? Exactly 14, I timed them because I didn't think they would last long. 🙂

And in all of the grumbles of the cold and yucky weather, we get blessed with a reminder of just how beautiful nature is with the sun dogs in the picture above. This photo doesn't do justice for what they really looked like in person (even though it was -17* when I took the photo.)

Stay warm friends, it sounds like the worst of it is coming tomorrow! How do you plan to keep warm? Do you have to report to your regularly scheduled work day?

From The Gravel Road-

Jen

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