I shed a tear early for a new one who didn't make it though the night. I try hard not to let the cold work it's way into my heart. Keep going...keep going...
As I feed, it rains. And then rains harder.
I check all the girls. Some are dry, some are not. I worry about them in the cold, but one reassures me with her happy demeanor as I pass by.
There is steam rising from them and I am reminded their bodies are warmer than mine.
Mmmmm, they leave me as their fresh feed arrives.
The day moves on, the rain keeps falling. By lunch I am ready for dry clothes. By 4 o'clock I am ready for more dry clothes.
I finish feeding calves as darkness falls. I pick up my buckets to leave. Oh, I forgot to feed the cats.
"Come on kitties" I say as I walk quickly towards the cat food dishes. They are under my feet, they can't contain their excitement! I reach down to pet one as we arrive at the bowls.
Eeeek!! I jump away! One of the "cats" running along in front of me is none other than a huge, bushy tailed skunk.
I run half way back through the barn. I wait for it to run out. It doesn't.
I slowly creep back to the "cat corner". I am tip toeing, holding my breath.
And there is the skunk, patiently waiting with the cats, for me to put out their food.
In that moment I start to decide I might not classify this day as "good".
I am ready to go home.
I only have one last thing to do, check for new calves. Surely they would at least calve in the barn on such a nasty day.
With my light, I spot a cow at the gate. All the others are sleeping cozy in the barn, and here is this girl outside. As I get closer I see she is leaking milk and has obviously had a calf. Where is it? In the barn? No. Has it slipped out the gate? I don't see it. I bet I just missed it in the barn. Hmm. Not there.
In fear, I began searching around the corners, down the hill. Oh no it's so cold and raining harder than ever. I worry every moment I am looking.
I need a brighter light and more help, both of which I find and continue the search.
After a few long minutes of flashlights beaming through the dark, I hear words of relief.
And there around the corner, under a bush, sopping wet, is a very small new baby heifer wobbling towards us in the rain.
The bad parts of my day begin to wash away as we carry her in a blanket towards the barn, where she will sleep warm and dry.