The Seasons Keep Coming
And, it's my birthday month!
It’s hard to believe we are coming to the end of another calving season. So often, I work myself up in the weeks leading up to a busy season—not knowing what the days will be like and how much Rich will be gone. In the “slower” seasons, I get used to him being home for dinner at a “normal” time. And it often feels like we’ve just found our groove when another busy season hits.
My whole life, I’ve lived in places with four seasons: Wyoming, Washington, D.C., and Montana. Before marrying a farmer, the seasons mostly marked a change in weather.
But now, the seasons mark busier times on our farm & ranch.
January through March is calving season for our operation. The bitter temperatures can be deadly for a newborn calf, so we do all our calving in a barn. Because we bring each cow into the barn to calve, the cows must be watched 24/7 to look for signs of calving to get the cow into the barn in time. It’s very hands-on and takes work round-the-clock by many people.
The farm crew seeds the spring crops in March and April. During this time, the ranch crew is AI’ing (artificially inseminating) the cows, and then the bulls are turned out with the cows to breed them the rest of the cows the “old fashioned” way.
Summer is packed with haying in June, and harvest takes up July and August. There is also cow work in between: moving the cows & calves from pasture to pasture and fixing the fences.
Sometimes it feels like we roll right from harvest at the end of August into seeding the winter wheat in September. The crop lies dormant over the winter months, and then it’s harvested the following summer.
October through December is generally a “slower” season, where Rich repairs equipment and office work. (I didn’t realize this until I married into agriculture, but farming/ranching requires a TON of paperwork.) Our calves sell in October, which involves a lot of prep work for the ranch crew—then hauling the cows home from the summer pasture to the home place for the winter and spring months.
Then, we do it all over again next year!
I’m nearly ten years into this “farm wife” gig, and one thing I know for sure is: the seasons keep coming.
And together, we make it through each time.
I thought once a month, it might be fun (interesting?) to give a short update on what’s happening on our farm & ranch. My intro covered the high level of what goes on in a calendar year, but here’s a bit more on what’s happening right now.
Calving will wrap up in the next few weeks—it’s already dramatically slowed down. At our peak, 30-40 calves are born each day, and then the numbers dwindle until only one or two are born daily. For the most part, the cows calve on their own. But occasionally, we (not me) will need to intervene and pull a calf (assist the cow in giving birth).
Last month, the vet came out to do a c-section, which rarely happens on our operation. Generally, the guys can pull a calf on their own, and don’t need the vet. But this calf was born with a rare genetic disease, Schistosomus Reflexus, and the only way for it to come out was to perform a c-section. (I purposely did not include a link because some of you might find it too gruesome.) My father-in-law has been calving for decades and has never had a calf with this genetic disease. If you don’t want to Google it, the best explanation is that the calf was born inside out.
We live in “The Golden Triangle” of Montana. The nickname refers to all the wheat grown in this area. Most of our crop—winter wheat—was seeded last fall, along with winter canola. The farm crew will seed spring wheat, lentils, chickpeas, barley, and yellow peas this spring.
I brought ten chicks home last spring, and today, I have ten hens! No roosters were in the mix, and the chicks all survived. They are still laying well, and none have pecked me to death, so I consider that a win.
Lately, I’m . . .
Reading: Finlay Donovan Jumps the Gun by Elle Cosimano, and the witty banter between the main characters does not disappoint (tbh, book #1 is still my favorite).
Watching: Clarkson’s Farm 2, which makes me laugh out loud.
Wearing: anything from Vuori; all their tops and pants are super soft and comfy.
Cheering: for& Erin Strybis on the upcoming release of their devotional, “The Beauty of Motherhood.”
Cooking: this perfect pot roast on a weeknight for my family.
Baking: these mocha brownies for the calving crew.
Writing: an essay for The Mom Hour about how there isn’t just one way—a “normal” way—to experience motherhood.
Singing: along to Anyone by Justin Bieber.
Listening: to the Don’t Mom Alone podcast episode on parenting sensitive and intense kids and how to connect with your child through triggers and outbursts.
Shamelessly Sharing: this post about how I’m reducing screen time and this one about going into Part Two of my husband and I’s love story.
Buying: this cozy shamrock sweatshirt to wear on St. Patrick’s Day.
Happy March, friends! It’s my birthday month—which obviously means it’s the best month! This birthday also marks the last year in my 30s. Right now, I’m unsure if I have “big” feelings about that (next) number yet—especially when I’m so grateful for all that’s happened in this decade.
And there’s no sense worrying about next year today.
Thanks for reading let me overthink this! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.
P.S. I think this is what you might call “burying the lede.” Hello! Welcome to my first newsletter! I’ve wanted to start a newsletter for years, but I didn’t for various reasons (ahem, overthinking). But Substack makes it easy, so I went for it. Do you want more details in the “Farm Happenings” section? Less? Do you have questions? I’m happy to answer! I plan to do a post like this monthly, and April’s newsletter will include a book giveaway!
Here’s to overthinking less,
Happy birthday month, Stacy! I love this look into your world. Thank you so much for sharing about The Beauty of Motherhood
Happy Birthday Stacy!! We’re busy calving too. Hope you get to get away and do something fun!!