Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thankful Thursdays

Have you thanked a livestock farmer today?

Most farmers have two seasons...planting and harvest. Those farmers would be called grain farmers. They have long hours during planting season and during harvest season with a little down time in between. There's a different kind of farmer who doesn't get much down town...the livestock farmer.
 This is the time of the year when I am in awe of how giving and selfless my husband is. From mid-December through mid- April, it's all about his "girls".  He has 117 momma cows that will calve between now and late April. That's 117 bouncing bull and heifer calves to care for, 234 mouths to feed, and 234 piles of cow droppings to move in the spring. If you think an infant is demanding, try taking care of a cow and her new born calf. No one is more protective of a newborn than a cow!

This cow calved over the weekend. She's 14 years old. Good ole #25!
 The physical exertion it takes to work outside from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day is unmeasurable. Imagine taking care of that cow in 7 degree weather, in a 20 mile per hour wind, with wind chills 15 below zero, all the while dressed in about 20 lbs of winter clothing and boots and in knee deep mud. Few of our beloved critics (yes, this is in reference to PETA and HSUS), realize just how devoted, dedicated and giving a livestock farmer is.

There are evenings when my SO eats supper and is asleep in the lazy boy by 7:30 p.m. He's physically and some days emotionally and mentally exhausted. For example, yesterday he moved a cow and her new born calf to the barn...but he moved them with the skid loader. Momma didn't like her baby being messed with and my SO didn't want a trip to the ER, so he jumped in the skidloader, quickly, with lightning fast movements, laid the calf in the bucket of the skid loader, jumped in and move to the barn. Of course, momma was hot on his trail the entire time but they got to spend the entire evening in a fresh pen of straw with a roof over their heads.

Feeding cows silage. My husband grinds silage every day.  These are due to calve in February.
 Then there is last year's success story...Sweet Pea. Her mother didn't want her, so Squirrel and Bugs adopted her until another mother cow was able to adopt her. Despite the frustrations and extra work my husband went through to keep Sweet Pea, the joy two little boys experienced having a bottle calf far outweighed the work. Sweet Pea is now an official member of the family!

Nothing more exciting that getting a three day old calf to walk up and check you out!
 As you sit down at your supper table or lay your head down to sleep, say a little prayer for the livestock farmer. He or she could use a little extra boost to get them through the next few months and don't forget to say "Thank you" the next time you see one!

Don't ya just want to come give me a big ole hug!


  1. LOVE this post! I have sooo much repsect for the day to day labor my husband does. We livestock, grain and forage farm. Plus he carries a full-time job with Pioneer. So sometimes we are running on fumes around here.

  2. Good post! It's definitely true about the livestock farmer. I hate when people with office jobs complain about their work. They don't have to work in the freezing cold temps and deal with unruly animals that don't listen (although I'm sure some office workers do have to work with "unruly animals" in the office!). My hubby works on a dairy farm...but imagine laboring in the freezing temps and dealing with the cows and making sure every calf is not sick and it's not even your farm!!! That's dedication....(along with the other farmers who work on their own farm...)