The Start of Calving Season

The rain pours today. Sheep hunker down, round balls of wool with faces. Cattle munch on hay. Horses enthusiastically chomp on grain. The dog curls up on straw piles in the barn, tail wrapping around ears.

Calving season started last week, two weeks early. Four calves have been born; only two have lived. Most of the mothers have been heifers, first-timers.

I ride a quad bike through the cow pasture, counting to 31 to see that everyone is present.

The number was 32 for a little while.

But when I made my rounds Thursday night, looking for signs of new or about-to-be-born calves, I found a heifer lying to the side. She wasn’t breathing hard, but she didn’t move when I approached, either.

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