Current Progressive Cattle digital edition

A world without January

Erica Louder for Progressive Cattleman Published on 16 January 2018
Angus heifer calving in the snow

In the novel Anne of Green Gables, the heroine proclaims her favorite month of the year by saying, “I am so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” While October is not my favorite month, I understand Anne’s partiality for a specific month. I love June.

For one, it is my birthday month. But to me, June represents all that is perfect in nature. The weather is warm, but mild. The days are long. The grass is tall and green. Even the stars are brighter. Rarely is there anything bad to say about June. Maybe, like Anne, you prefer October. Or another month may be your favorite; regardless, one month that deserves little praise is January. 

My judgment may be a little clouded as we are right in the middle of this cold, dreary and dark month. How nice it might be to live in a world without January. We could finish up the holiday seasons and celebrate the new year by welcoming in February. While that month may not have many redeeming qualities, it is only possessed of 28 days, and that in itself is redeeming. 

I have always disliked January. For 16 years of my life, it was the month that ushered me back to school for the “spring” semester. Two different years, I suffered terrible bouts of cabin fever as I was forced to remain indoors for the sake of my newborns. But my real hatred of this dreaded month was cemented last year, January of 2017. 

Last year, in the late-January edition of this blog, I recounted a month that was nothing short of miserable. That blog was called Murphy’s Law of calving. It told of calving registered Angus heifers during the midst of the worst snowstorm in recent history, all while trying to get to Phoenix to compete in the Young Farmer and Rancher Discussion Meet which, by the way, I did not win. 

All year, there were daily reminders of that month as we fed calves with half their ears and missing tails from the frostbite. It gave them a stunted expression – an expression that showed it’s worth (or lack thereof) in the sale ring. Last January, we swore we would never calve in January again and when it came time to A.I. breed, we stuck to that promise. 

Today, January of 2018 appears to be following a similar pattern to 2017 everywhere except Idaho (and for some reason Alaska too). Apparently, the New Year’s Eve celebration in New York City was the coldest on record, and friends in Texas and Louisiana are thawing out hoses for the first time in history.

I even heard that the Florida-Georgia line got snow for the first time since the ‘80s. Not southern Idaho though. Yesterday it was 40ºF and sunny – perfect calving weather. Although, our calves aren’t set to calve for another month, and the long-term forecast predicts snow in February. Murphy’s law strikes again.  end mark

Erica Louder is a freelance writer based in Idaho.

PHOTO: We are always calving in the snow, but at least some days it's sunny. Photo by Erica Louder.