Springtime on the ranch

Spring has finally arrived on the ranch. It has been a tough winter to say the least. The weather was unseasonably warm during December and January.

February started out 65 degrees on the the 1st.....but then it got cold. The average high for the entire month of February was 13.6 degrees Fahrenheit. It was the 3rd coldest February on record.

During all that cold weather and frequent snows, 130 calves were born. Things got pretty challenging around here trying to keep all the new babies warm and dry.

I check on the cows every hour from sunup to sundown and every 3 hours at night....around the clock - 24/7.

During the nights when the temps were below -10 degrees (there were a lot of them), I shortened the interval to every 2 hours. Baby calves don't last very long if they are born in sub-zero weather.

By the end of February, I was worn out from the long days and short nights. Exhausted from running on minimal sleep for the past 25 days and 75% done with calving.

March didn't start out much better. More cold nights and chilly days but it eventually warmed up enough to start melting the snow. We finally strung 3 nice days together, the snow was melting and the creek was filling up.

Then along come a blizzard. The weatherman's forecast called for 18-24 inches of snow and 50mph winds. He got the wind part right....but we only got about 6 inches of the snow he predicted, luckily.

Clear blue sky and warming weather followed the blizzard and it wasn't long before the water started to run.

The days have been pretty decent lately and I am down to 15 cows. It will still take another month for them to finish calving, but the workload has lightened significantly.

All of this warm weather has made me sick.....I have a fever and the only cure is QRP portable operations. As soon as the mud dries up a little, I will be dusting off the gear and headed out to a hilltop for a little radio time.

I have also been getting an itch to try satellites again. I purchased an Arrow antenna a couple years ago and listened to a few birds as they sailed by. I bought a "new to me" Kenwood TH-D72a handheld radio to use with the antenna since it's a full duplex radio.

Unfortunately I got busy with other ranching duties and haven't had a chance to try it out yet.....but I have been reading up on how to properly configure it. I am looking forward to making my first satellite QSO soon.