Last night, I finally returned home from all of my travels this past week for work! Dan and his family had been very busy this week with the beginning of spring calving season. The weather, as you can imagine, was not ideal for bringing new baby calves into the world with temperatures in the low teens, high winds, and about eight inches of snow covered in ice! (MOO! – translation: BRRR!)
Dan’s brother had already lost one calf earlier in the week and they had to pull several others. I went out with Dan to check the cows around dusk. We were waiting patiently on yet another calf to be born. Unfortunately, later that night Dan and his dad had to pull the calf and the calf was a still-born. Reality often sets in quickly on a farm. Even though saddened by another loss, you have to keep moving forward… sometimes moving quickly.
Dan called around our neighborhood in search of a newborn calf. During this time we would look for a calf that had not been claimed by its mother and attempt to pair it with our heifer. After several phone calls we were in luck. A new calf, about five days old, was born a twin and the mother only claimed one of her calves.
So Dan and I set out to pick up this new calf and bring her back to our barn for the new mama. When we arrived at our neighbor’s house, no one was home so we traipsed into their back yard where we found the bottle calf in a warm, little barn filled with hay. Dan climbed inside and picked up the calf. Meanwhile, I get the gate, skate across the ice-covered back yard in my bulky muck boots (note: feeling like either one of us could “Bambi–it” at any moment. Yes, Bambi is a verb), and open the truck door for Dan and the calf. I throw it in reverse and speed away from the scene as Dan and the bottle calf ride shotgun! Seriously, I feel like a criminal at the moment!
Halfway home, the calf is getting restless again and Dan does his best to hold it still. Funny man talks to the new baby “so…first time in a truck?” Then, I hear “Oh! Yup… my left leg is getting really warm right about now.” Nice! The calf is getting his payback for taking him from his warm little bed for a late-night joy ride! Needless to say, I drove the rest of the way home with the window down not bothered by the temperature as much as the smell of our truck.
We finally made it back, prepared a bed of hay for the calf and new mother and did all we could do to ensure she would claim her new baby. After an adventurous night, reality once again set in on our way to the house. We had lost another calf and took a gamble buying another. If it doesn’t take to its new mother, we will be stuck with another bottle calf this year. We have a long calving season ahead and are praying for some healthy new calves and maybe some warmer weather.
We had so much snow here in the Midwest this week! I was so excited to get home from my travels and make snow ice cream like my grandmother used to do! Much to my surprise when I arrived home and stepped out of my car I could glide across the snow because it was completely covered in ice! Therefore, snow ice cream was a little out of the question. However, I thought I would pass along the recipe anyway!
- 1 c. milk
- 1 c. sugar (yes, 1 cup, embrace it!)
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- Add snow until creamy consistency is achieved (tip: use clean, white snow only, haha!)
- Food coloring optional
- Add the first three ingredients together and whisk.
- Add fresh snow until you reach the desired consistency of ice cream
I’ll never forget the snow days spent at my grandmother’s house. My cousins and I would play out in the freezing snow all afternoon. We would come inside to warm up…with snow ice cream!?! Somehow, it always sounded delicious! We would add food coloring and mix every color possible! By the last bite, my ice cream usually resembled a brown, chocolate color. I hope you enjoy as much as we did when we were kids!
Stay warm out there!