A veterinary friend snapped this photo from her front porch the other morning.

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Cold Winter Morning
–photo credit Dell Kay Bertino

Beautiful, yes, until you realize that you’re going to be outside all day working in this. All day. Then you’d probably settle for a little less beauty for a little more balmy. This kind of cold means charcoal warmers in gloves and boots, wool caps with ear flaps, thermal layers, silk scarves, and enough Carhartt that the company should offer to sponsor you.

This time of year, there is a lot of outdoor vet work with preg-checking, Bangs vaccinations, and the eternal dragging of the hydraulic chute through pastures. With a December that has been record-cold in the north and in Montana in particular, that has often meant ranchers erecting tents around the hydraulic chute and loading in propane heaters to withstand the -20 Fahrenheit temperatures. If those heaters keep Dr. Chris and Jeni warm, that is just an added bonus. What those heaters are really needed to do is keep the hydraulics warm enough to function. It’s a little hard to work cattle if you can’t catch them in the squeeze chute.

Fortunately, this work is wrapping up as calving season, better known as mid-February, is just around the corner. As Dr. Chris remarked last week, “Preg checking is easy work when the fetus starts sucking your thumb.” My thoughts exactly!

And if all else fails, let Madeline and Annie here remind us all of why we keep preg-checking, even when it is bloody awful outside. This kind of photo makes it all worthwhile.

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Madeline and Annie, or Springtime Hopes
–photo credit Dana Weatherford