It's that time of year again.
Livestock producers are bringing new life into the world and playing nursemaid to calves, kids and lambs.
March came in like a lion, which has ranchers feeling both gratitude and grief.
The spring showers have improved drought conditions across Colorado, while the frigid conditions are adding to the stress and anxiety of animal husbandry.
Tuesday morning, I pulled into my parents' driveway bright and early, like I always do. Dad's work truck was gone, so I parked in his spot, thinking he already started his day and wouldn't be back until lunchtime.
Shortly after, Dad pulled up, cow dog in tow, and stepped out looking more wrecked than the "blue bomber" he drives.
As he stumbled his way through the kitchen with bloodshot eyes, my Mom whispered, "He's been out with the heifers all night."
On my way out, I noticed my Mom had the house prepared for the pending storm that's predicted to hit our area. She's cleared a space and is prepared to warm any calf or kid that needs shelter from the storm.
And while Dad is fatigued and Mom is worried, neither of them complain, because they know what they signed up for; and our livelihood revolves around getting live calves on the ground.
Though the season has its ups and downs, ranchers need a little extra patience and understanding this time of year.
They are stretched to the limit, and the weight of their world is on their shoulders.
So, if Dad stumbles into your feed store a little grouchy and on edge or nods off in the church pew, please know it's nothing personal.
He's been in the calving barn all night, and Ma has calves in the kitchen.