Autumn is my favourite time of year.
Still days as though the sun, itself, is relaxing, daylight shortening at both ends of the day, dew on the grass in the morning, apples to pick and delight in their crispness, tomatoes red on the vines.
It is time to preserve vegies for the winter, pick quinces and make quince paste and contemplate winter crops to put into the ground.
It is also calving time. The cows have been on good feed all through the summer and that can be a too good a regime for big animals trying to deliver their big calves.
One mob, which we walked home from a block 15 kms away, is the first to begin. Twins first up and the others followed and in regular succession. The season progresses with daily calvings to keep my husband on his toes.
My husband gets up at daylight and goes around each mob whilst I remain on my routine schedule and eat breakfast on my own. Last thing in the evening, he goes around each mob again. Some nights I can’t wait for him to get home to eat tea and so I eat tea alone too.
The South East is renowned for its phalaris grass. Due to the heavy rainfall last year, its growth has been prolific. It can make for a good environment for young calves. It gives shelter from winds and makes for warm nooks in which to rest and grow. It has its downside too. It is difficult to see a cow down trying to calve and calves can lose sight of their mothers easily. My husband has spent time climbing up windmills to look out over paddocks as well as wandering slowly in the vehicle to find, seemingly, missing cows and or calves.
My anxiety levels kick up a notch, knowing that my 68 year old husband is pulling calves on his own. One very stirry cow wanted to pin him against the yards whilst he was trying to get her into the crush and he hadn’t even begun the process of pulling her calf. She has ordained her future through this hormonal response and will be off to market once her calf is reared.
He has had to pull his fair share of calves probably because of the good season has borne big calves.
With the end of daylight saving the midwifery hours are shortening.