In the Cold Snap

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The sun is bright and stretching across the snow in glittering, sparkly gold this week. It’s a deceiving light, a warm glow through the window, a cheery, welcoming, blue-skied kind of look that almost makes you think of spring.

However…

it’s so cold outside the door, if you wrinkle your nose, the wrinkles stay put for a second, and your fingers turn instantly numb. It’s a beautiful, gorgeous kind of weather, full of pink and gold sunsets, and diamonds glimmering on the fields. But it’s deadly too.

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Inside the cold snap everyone on the ranch is on high alert. The cows are calving, and babies are coming into the world willy-nilly – nature takes its course regardless of the cold. If we aren’t quick enough, smart enough, lucky enough, tails can freeze off, or babies get stuck in the ice, and death comes sneaking in the moment we aren’t watching to snatch away these little beginnings.

Everyone sleeps in shifts and take turns waking every couple of hours to walk the fields. If you were to drive by in the middle of the night, you might see headlamps bobbing through the dark, a slow, quiet moving amongst the herd. It’s a silent, yawning, never-ending cycle, where everyone waits impatiently for spring.

Babies are starting to come every night, we’ve shifted feeding times to try and encourage them to come during the day instead, but it’s still an intense time of watching and sleeping less than you’d like. With every winter comes some death, babies that are sick and need help nursing, babies that sometimes get brought into the house to warm up. Then there’s the mothers who get a little overprotective and make checking the herd an interesting keep-you-on-your-toes challenge of brain versus brawn.

It might seem like it’s not worth it, but there are small moments here and there, when the stars shine brilliant in the sky, and the herd is standing quiet around you while you walk, and peace comes to remind you that all of this process is bigger than you. The world is suspended in those midnight times, the sky hanging above and the animals like company, and everything is beautiful, even if it is too cold to stay out and enjoy.

 

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