Monday, September 26, 2011

Signposts of the seasons

The years, even the seasons, seem to go by faster and faster. One of the joys of farm life is being constantly surrounded by signposts of the unfolding seasons. The calf shown above has been one of our yardsticks of time's passage. While most of the calves born at Callicrate Cattle Co. are black, the result of Angus and Wagyu breeding, the calf above appeared in the spring of 2010, and his unusual red-and-white hair coat quickly distinguished him. The odd blocks of colors are not something you can easily associate with any particular breed or bloodline typically seen at the ranch.

Last winter, while a light coat of frost was on the ground, I was looking at the weaned calves that had been gathered in the pen near the shed, and I immediately recognized this calf again, set off by his tell-tale pattern. He had left his momma and moved on to a new phase of life.
Today, that calf, along with the rest of his herd mates, is reaching full maturity. Like the rest of us, he and his friends are enjoying these golden fall days while they last. He's clearly well-fed and content, a gentle spirit. And so it is that we get to experience and steward this precious cycle of life. Farming has always been a profession that kept its practitioners grounded and humbled by nature's mystery and wonder.  We're not a predominantly agrarian culture anymore and that's unfortunate. Few things are as satisfying as watching and participating in the continual evolution and renewal of the natural world.