The Haxtun-Fleming Herald - What can we reason but from what we know? -Alexander Pope

Under the Wire

February? Come on!


February 9, 2022

As near as I can tell, my forefathers raised cattle in Hawaii, Florida or some other very warm climate. That is the only possible explanation I can come up with for a problem I now have.

As many of you know, the cow business tends to become a family legacy. Grandpa did it then passed them on to father who, continued to raise them, son followed in their footsteps, etc., etc. In some cases, such as ours, the cowherd passed through many generations. Thus my problem.

Sue and I “inherited” if you will, a great cow herd capable of raising big healthy calves year after year while subsisting on pretty tough range conditions.

Our cows calve in February. They have done this for cow generation after generation. “Just leave us alone," they seem to say, “and we will do our job of keeping you from having to go to town and try to get a real job!”

We work hard to allow them to do just that. “So what do you have to complain about?”, you may ask. Here is where my suspected warm weather ancestors come into play. Our cows calve in February, a very balmy month in Honolulu or Miami Beach. Problem is, we live in Eastern Colorado where 20 below zero is common in February. How in the heck did they get on that schedule? It sure wasn’t my idea.

Now, cattlemen will say, “All you have to do is turn the bulls out a couple of months later to solve the problem.” It’s not that simple. Cow’s systems get on a schedule, just like we humans can. Calve in February, calves big enough to brand in April, go to green grass in May, wean before snow falls in late October. They have their system for decades. I have always seen my place in all this as, “Don’t screw up what everyone before has been successful with.” I know the entire group is watching me from up above making sure the latest caretakers of the cows do it right. We try hard but come on, February? Seriously? Family records go back to the Hodgson’s journey from Southeast Kansas in the 1880s, even documentation of the first of our lineage coming over on a boat from England. However, no where can I find evidence of the warm weather Hodgsons who began calving this herd in February.

Providing I, too, make the Pearly Gates, the first thing I am going to do is look those gentlemen up and ask, “What in the world were you thinking? February? Come on!


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