When winter comes to this Oklahoma farm and ranch land, we harvest our pecans, and tend our small herd of cows, feeding them on hay we cut and baled in the summer. We pasture them on winter grasses and alfalfa hay. Fence building and mending and pasture work goes on here all year long. The cows we move from one pasture to the next to find the best grass while the previous pastures recoup.
We have calves born this season––one heifer and two bulls. The heifers get names. (Lottie Moon is the latest.) Bulls don’t usually get named since they will become steers and eventually meals. One of the bulls though, we have named Trouble. He gets out of fences and has to be rounded up often. He is rambunctious and rowdy and likes to run with our young colt, Gus. The two of them are entertainment for us when they run and play. Trouble is a beautiful little angus. He’s black and sleek and we like him despite his shenanigans.
We bought a new bull this year and will name him as soon as we see what name fits him, although he came with his formal paper name. He is a young bull, like a teenager in the cow family. A new heifer joined the herd also and she will make a good mama and birth her share of calves in the years to come. Since she’s our tenth heifer, I plan to name her for Corrie Ten Boom––an evangelist and writer whom I greatly admire. From what I know of her from reading her stories, I don’t think she’d mind at all having a cow named after herself.
Winter here is not usually harsh. We have many sunny days, and clear moonlit nights, and as many dismal gray days, a snowfall or two, which is gone the next day. Lots of rain falls and at times in our windy state we get thunderstorms, some with hail or sleet. Some years we have ice storms which cause a lot of damage.
Spells of very warm days we called Indian summers. Chilly days we enjoy our woodstove fires and even sometimes sit outside by the porch fire box or burn a brush pile.
The hardest part is keeping hay for cows and keeping the water troughs full. If we get cold enough nights, the troughs freeze so auto fill floats have to be disconnected. This year the rain has been so unending the cows need rubber wading boots!
The Canada geese are here and enjoying the full ponds and lakes. I love to watch them in flight and hear their raucous honking.
The sun comes out and the puddles recede some. The road workers come through and fill in the holes in paved roads with gravel and grate the gravel roads, so we can come and go. Then comes more rain!