a sure sign of spring in nebraska…baby bovines (calves)

Palm Sunday 2Regardless of what the thermometer shows for a temperature this time of year, the surest sign that spring has sprung is the sight of calves standing near their mama. Or, better yet, a gang of them running and leaping as if to say, “Why worry? Have fun!”

We don’t live on a farm. The last link to the farm for our immediate family belongs to Jim’s sister, Maureen, and her husband, Harvey. They plant corn and soybeans and raise cattle. They used to have pigs, as well, but gave up on that quite a few years ago already. Diversified operation. Recently, I’ve come to appreciate them and the connection much more. Prior to this appreciation, it was taken for granted.

As with so much of our lives, we get busy living and sort of forget that with each passing day, we are also growing older and changes do happen. So the farm that has always been there may not be. The harvest journey that we take each year may be the final one. Kids that were always around are growing up and leaving. Life…it happens.

We went to the farm to celebrate Palm Sunday and family with a noon meal. Something that used to be a piece of cake to initiate and make happen now involves eight different calendars. When we can get everyone together (most everyone), we’ve scored…big time! We were only missing one person. Well, sorta. We were also missing Grandma Ruth. The first Easter without her. She loved Easter and celebrating spring with her family.

It was decided that if our family grew much more (which it will, I’m sure), we were going to have to add another table. We have maxed out with 16 of us around Maureen’s dining room table! There’s NO WAY that would be possible in our home. I wish for one thing…a room large enough to have everyone around the same table. Guess we’ll just have to get used to adding tables. At least we’re together.

The meal was wonderful but the fellowship around the table even better.

After dinner was over and the table was cleared, Maureen got the remaining boxes of Grandma Ruth’s possessions out for the kids to go through. We had fun recalling different events and happenings that created each keepsake. Each of the six girls had fun creating their own pile of Grandma keepsakes and memories. Again…a part of the life changes that occur without realizing it. I think we thought she would be around forever.

The kids left. Each had their own reasons for having to leave late afternoon. That left the four of us. Sitting around a smaller table recalling the years that have passed. How it used to be that no one would leave until after the evening “lunch”. There we sat with food galore – lots of leftovers for the week and just the four of us. Maureen was the one that realized that it had never been just the four of us before. She was right. There had always been a kid or two still around when the holiday meal was over. Just the four of us. Weird!

“Do you want to go see the twins with me?”, she asked. Absolutely! We layered the sweatshirts – it was sunny yet pretty chilly day – and headed out the door. The twins were calves. The mama and her babies were separated from the rest of the herd (I’m not sure why) and would be fed some of the bagged silage from tubs. We drove over to the bag of silage, filled the tubs and made our way to where the newest little guys were contained.

Palm Sunday 1The rest of the gang!

Palm Sunday 3SUPPER TIME! Harvey fed silage to these guys with the help of a tractor/feeder wagon.

Palm Sunday 4

Palm Sunday 6

Palm Sunday 7

Palm Sunday 5There’s really nothing more fun to watch than calves just enjoying life! I was wishing Eli and Nora would have been there with me. Guess we’ll just have to make another trip to the farm!

Palm Sunday 8Once Maureen and I were finished with the chores of feeding the mama of the twins and taking cake to a few of the others, I asked about Ruby. Ruby was the calf that was born last year during one of the coldest of springtime cold snaps we received and nearly died. Be sure to read Ruby’s story – it’s worth your time! It’s a great love story of the farmer and the animals they care for.

Ruby 5Maureen said, “Let’s grind some corn and put in the feed trough – that will bring Ruby to us pretty fast.”

Ruby 4

Ruby 1She was right! Ruby was there before the corn was out of the bucket. Well, hello there Ruby!! You’ve grown a little since the last time I saw you. Her rough start to life was visible – short ears, short nose and short tail (all due to frost bite). Other than that, she appeared to be just as happy as the others. Maybe a bit more than the others. She came right up to me and allowed me to scratch behind her ears and rub her head. She also liked my phone. She kept trying to lick it.

Ruby 2

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Ruby 3Ruby’s side profile. See her short tail?

So, I’ve decided that the next good day we have, Eli and Nora have got to go back to the farm to see the calves and pet Ruby. It’ll be fun to see their excitement and watch them enjoy being on the farm. “Being on the farm” could be a thing of the past for the next generation of kiddos in our family. I hope not but it’s a possibility. And another generation of kids not knowing where their food comes from.

4 comments on “a sure sign of spring in nebraska…baby bovines (calves)

  1. Paula says:

    That realization that none of your family will be on the farm is the hardest part. My family has never been anywhere but on the farm but I am probably the end. Both of my children do not want us to sell the farm but they each have very good off the farm jobs and families to keep them busy. It is a day to day thought. I enjoy reading about your experiences too.

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Thank you, Paula! Mostly for taking the time to write me a note. I so enjoy hearing from the people who actually read my “stories”…and enjoy them. I certainly understand the day to day thoughts about life and changes. God bless you!

  2. Tom Stegmeier says:

    Well, spring is maybe , somewhat here on the eastern slopes of the Alberta Rockies , we are soooo dry here we need moisture either rain or snow. Was driving around the Golf course today testing a utility vehicle I had repaired ,the cottonwood has catkins & the popular tree’s have the scent that spring is in the air. Boy those things brought memories of spring time on the Farm !! Funny how certain moments bring back lifetime experiences. Have a Happy Easter !

    • Nebraska Wheatie says:

      Happy Easter to you and your family as well, Tom!! Crazy weather in NE today. Blizzard to the west and north of us. Tornado watch for us until midnight. Spring in NE!!

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