I’ve seen photos and I’ve seen them from a distance, but being up close to a newborn calf is unreal.
My first ranch stop this season for the Montana Stockgrowers Association
was at Ehlke Herefords
in Townsend. Their breeding philosophy is to “focus on the female. It takes an exceptional cow to produce replacement quality breeding animals.”
The ranch is operated by owners Mark and Della Ehlke, with daughters Lacey Jo and Jane’a and a hire employee, Ryan.
As I pulled in the snow-covered driveway, I saw the red and white cows grazing on hay with navy blue mountains behind them. They looked at me for a bit, but realized I wasn’t overly interesting and went back to eating.
Mark, Jane’a, Ryan and I went out to give the new cow/calf pairs some hay.
I had seen cow/calf pairs during the summer, but nothing like this.
The lil ones were only a handful of hours old and nestled comfortably in a pile of warm hay. Naturally, Mom was right by their side.
Immediately, I smiled and didn’t stop smiling until I left.
The day-month old ones leaped over small hills to get to tasty udders and called out with moos when they couldn’t find any.
I don’t think I could have been any happier. And what made it even more special was that Mark, Ryan and Jane’a smiled, laughed, and obviously, loved their work. I think that’s what ranching is all about…just doing what you love.
I’ve said it time and time again, and will keep saying it: In ranching, there’s a feeling of tangible, genuine passion for not only raising animals, but providing care for them…providing care for the family unit, and providing care for consumers’ quality of meat. That’s exactly what I saw at the Ehlke’s ranch.