COLUMN: From deep cold to spring

Life of a Farm Wife - Looking into springtime and calving season

In like a lion, out like a lamb; never before has this saying had such tremendous accuracy in nearly every aspect of a ranchers life.

For my ranchers, calving began to really pick up during this lion-like kick-off to March. This month, which is well known to be the transition between the fierceness of winter and the gentle beginnings of spring, has really proven just how vicious the lion of winter can be.

With an average bite-force of minus twenty-four degrees Celsius, the winter chills made the beginnings of calving season nearly unbearable. Not to mention how calving season itself has demonstrated, that it too, can come in like a roaring lion.

Only two weeks into calving, our particular ranch saw an average of eight new calves a day, which certainly caused my ranchers to be on the hunt all day and night to ensure every new addition was safe from the ferocious cold. Only now, just over a week into the month, are we finally moving on from the ruthlessness of winter, and at last, experiencing a little bit of what the gentle lamb has to offer. The warm nature of the sun has lifted the dreadful cold, and shown a softer side to the month of March.

Calves, while still coming in like a runaway lion, have at the very least been able to stay outside with their mothers without the danger of freezing. However, as many ranchers know, the warm lamb-like ways of spring can certainly bring their own set of challenges. Too much wintery-lion, and the calves will be in danger of freezing; too much springy-lamb, however, and the dangers of mud begin to take their hold on the ranch. Everything from equipment getting stuck, to the disease-baring muck will shortly become a ranching reality if this mild weather continues.

Like it or not, it certainly is true that no rancher or farmer will ever be completely satisfied with the weather. However, it is also true that there is nothing that can slay the lion, nor tame the lamb, the way a rancher can.

Regardless of the conditions we’re given, we can be thankful for the ranchers all over this wild-weather province who continue to work day and night to ensure their livestock is safe and healthy.

The men and women that face the difficulties of our environment to feed the world certainly deserve some recognition, especially during the extreme temperature fluctuations we’re currently experiencing. So, if you’re a rancher in Alberta, hats off to you, and good luck this calving season.

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