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The Midwest Cattleman · October 22, 2020 · P4

                                                                            matic-flood event happening          It was just too painful.
                                         near his chair.  It had plenty     all over the state.  We had our  From time to time throughout
                                         of pages for notes and a calen-    own problems.  Calves came  the rest of that decade, my
                                         dar– the year in it was 1965.      early.  Many of them – even  dad would come across that
                                         My dad was twenty-eight.           many cows didn’t survive.    old calving book – probably
                                            In the fall of ‘64, Ken Car-    He wrote it all down.             by accident.  I’m certain he
                                         michael took a small herd              I learned  first-hand  and  didn’t go looking for it.  Read-
                                         of  Angus cows, along with a       up-close that spring what a  ing those notes took him back
                                         horse and his saddle, from         ‘retained placenta’ was all  to that spring, I guess.  It had
                                         Clayton, New Mexico by train       about.   I remember the proce- been a tremendous loss and
                                         to Winifred, Montana.  I have      dure – I remember the smell.   when he opened ‘that book’ he
                                         written about that trip and        The buttons or cotyledons in  re-lived it all – all over again
                                         his    end-of-the-line     cattle  the placenta don’t release,  – day by day – line by line.  He
                                         drive.   I’m reminded of how       so as my dad would reach  could be found with it from
                                         proud he was of those cows         in and ‘unbuttoned’ them on  time to time – even years later
      The Calving Book                   every time I see an old brass      cow after cow.  It was my job  with his head in his hands –
         Technology is about to          Angus registration tag.  They      to keep  a constant  pressure  sobbing.  My dad was ‘tough
      over-take us again.  Just take     were all bred to calve in the      pulling and roll up the pla- as nails’ but there was some-
      a photo of that new calf with      spring.                            centa on a stick of wood.  Re- thing about that book that he
      your cell phone and enter             There  wasn’t  much  grass      member… I was six.                could never get over.   It was
      some info and you’re on the        going into winter that year,          While we all slept in the  a record.  It was a journal – a
      cutting-edge.   Then with          and hay was hard to find.          warm,  my  dad  was  the  only  hand-written record of pain
      new cattle ‘facial recognition’    Those  ‘southern’ cows went        veterinarian.    He rarely slept.   and loss.  One evening, he had
      software, that animal can be       into winter in fair condition,     Very few calves lived past a  had all of the spring of ‘65 he
      identified with a camera and       but they were not acclimated.      day  or  two  old  that  spring.     could handle.  The book went
      computer most anywhere.            That winter turned out to be       Cow by cow he recorded it all  into the fire and we never saw
      That also means that data –        one of the worst anyone had        – line by line.  Years later, I  it again.
      the information you entered -      ever seen.   All the snow that     remember seeing the blue ink         I think if he was here and I
      can follow and be matched up       fell that winter and spring        on the  faded, indexed  pages.    could ask him about  it today
      with that calf, or with a bar-     brought on a 500-year flood.       It was his first calving expe- he would say... “It was time to
      code, even a part  of his car-        Cattle raised in ‘the breaks’   rience in the north country.   move on... on to happier days!”
      cass, anywhere it goes.  So, at    in central Montana are not         He was left-handed – I would      KwC
      the bunk, at the gate, at the      as likely to eat pine needles,     still recognize that handwrit-
      sale  or  even  on the  packing    but these cattle having been       ing anywhere.
      plant floor there is the poten-    raised  farther  south  must
      tial to know everything there      have eaten quite a lot of
      is to know about that animal.      them.  Cattle are more likely
         Information  management         to eat the pine needles during
      has come a long way since my       storms with increased snow,
      dad recorded his calving in-       wind, cold, changes in feed,
      formation.  That’s a big jump      or hunger.  The winter of ‘64-
      from his old calving books.        ’65 was full of all of that and
      Over the years, I’m sure that      more.  Pine needles are full
      he used more than one, but         of turpentine and cows that
      there was one book that, try       eat them get ‘turpentine poi-
      as we might, even though           soning’.      Simply  put,  eating    www
      he has been gone for several       pine needles causes abortions
      years now, we will never for-      in the third trimester.   Near-
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      es by three as I recall.  Very     placenta  and  subsequent  en-                                         Gr
      likely a gift from a bank or       dometritis.   Aborted  calves                                          permanent
      feed elevator.   It was worn       may survive if the abortion                                            fencing
      smooth and faded.   Many still     occurs late enough in gesta-
      use one like it. Some have one     tion; however, they are small                                          or gate gate
      for every year – every calv-       and weak, may not suckle,                                              material!
      ing season.  This book was a       and generally require exten-
      record.  It was a kind of jour-    sive care and treatment to
      nal – not just a journal of any    survive.  In short, it can be a      ‘Tis nearing the season! Take 10%OFF10%OFF  Gift Certificates!
      calving season -it was the         disaster.
      hand-written record of my             With all that in mind, you                                                          Special offer
      dad’s very first calving sea-      can begin to guess what was
      son in Montana.  Years later,      in my dad’s calving book and                                                             expires
      it would just be referred to as    journal written that spring.                                                           11/30/2020
      ‘that book’.                       It was a day by day – cow by
         I remember seeing it back       cow account.  It was cold and
      then, although when he start-      when he came in to warm up,          Choose any amount for your special grazier, who may be you!
      ed writing in it, I had just       my dad must have written it
      turned six. It would be on         all down – every detail.   As                        Seymour, Missouri, Missouri
      the kitchen table, dash of the     winter turned into spring            Order On-Line 24/7 • Check Website for Specials On-Line 24/7 • Check Website for Specials
      pickup,  on  his  dresser  or  on   that year, we had no idea that
      the table next to the ash tray     there was a 500-year trau-             417-741-1230  •
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