You may have heard about this mudslide on the news, it is about 40 miles S. E. from our ranch, between Darrington and Arlington on Hwy 530 – the “back way” down to Seattle.
I mentioned in my last post that we have had a lot of rain and Saturday about 11 am the hillside gave way and mud, rocks, trees and debris covered the north fork of the Stillaguamish River, Hwy 530 and a whole neighborhood. Four people have died so far and 18 more are still missing. Six houses confirmed destroyed and the estimate is up to thirty more are as well. It is a terrible thing.
They estimate about one square mile is covered with mud and debris and it is over 15 feet deep in places. Many of our local volunteer firefighters have responded and are helping in the search and rescue effort. If you are a praying person, please keep all those affected by this tragedy – and their families – in your prayers. You can read more about the story here.
It has officially been the wettest month of March on record here, and that is not counting the snow. We have received at least 9 inches of rain in the first 19 days of the month, and it is sprinkling as I type. I say at least because the rain gauge only holds 5 inches and if we forget to empty it the water overflows and it is hard to keep track of an accurate total.
Anyway, it’s been a lot of rain. I really wish we could send a few inches of that much-needed rain to our friends and family in California where they are in the midst of a drought.
Water is not the only thing we have been blessed with this month. Five healthy calves have been born also. All five with no assistance needed – thank goodness no replay of last year’s calving adventure (if you missed that you can read about it here). Four of the five were first time heifers and they calved on their own with no problems. The other cow that calved was Laverne, who had quite the ordeal last year. This year, all went well – hooray! Calving ease is one of the traits Lowlines are known for and one I especially appreciate. I am way too old and cranky to be pulling calves at midnight.
The newborn calves are so cute, watching them learn to stand and maneuver around in the world is one of my favorite things about raising cattle. This one is Nellie and her calf B-5. Nellie is one of our own calves from two years ago out of my favorite cow Mildred and our bull Ox. B-5 is a second generation calf for us out of our other bull Snapshot – exciting!
He – it’s a bull calf, the first one this year – doesn’t seem so excited, but he was only about six hours old here. Later that afternoon he was up running around.
This little one is B-4, out of first time heifer Jenny and Snapshot. She’s a sturdy little thing and we are very pleased with our calf crop so far.
We are hoping that the rest of our bred cows and heifers (fourteen more) are as easy as these first five.
The two feet of snow we got a few days ago is slowly melting away, but there is still quite a bit on the ground. You can see the cows have made trails from their shed to the feed and water trough.
Rosie the heifer was hanging around the water trough this morning and didn’t go up to eat with the others. Very unusual.
Hmmm . . .
Yes, there is a newborn calf snuggled up next to the water trough.
The calf was already dry so it had to be at least 2 or 3 hours old. Obviously Rosie, who is a first time heifer, didn’t need any help giving birth – and that is a good thing! She calved in the shed and then moved her baby out into the warm sun. We watched them and soon the calf was up and Rosie went to the feed trough to eat hay. I am always amazed at how soon those little ones are up and around.
Later in the afternoon we heard a lot of mooing and went to check on the new mom. And guess what?
Rosie was unhappy because her baby was outside the fence. Those little ones are so small they can pretty much just walk between the fence boards. One of the many things on our “to do” list is to put hog panels on the maternity pen fence so the newborn calves can’t get out.
We opened the gate and guided the calf – who is a heifer – back into the pen with her mama and everyone was happy.
And soon the calf was running through the snow, which doesn’t seem to bother her a bit.
A great start to our calving season! One down, eighteen more to go.