Saturday, January 24, 2015

Working Til the Cows Come Home

Winter.  It has so many mixed emotions that come with it.  So many different emotions.  So many opposing emotions.  And when you have them all mixing in one house, it can get a little crazy.  Take my house, for example...

I love winter.  Maybe it has something to do with the fact that we got married in January, so I just have so many lovely memories in the midst of a blizzard.  Or it could be because I genuinally love winter activities- skiing, sledding, tubing, making snowmen... Yep, love it all.  I did grow up in Montana where it was likely that winter would begin before Halloween and end just as school was getting out, so winter was just a part of life- a BIG part of life.  I just might love winter, though, because life slows down when there are blizzards and snowy roads and heaven forbid, you think you better stay home!  Yep, I even love the dramatics that come with it.

My love and enthusiasm is shared by my kids, who PRAY for snow, sometimes even in the summer.  Its not likely to happen, but with the faith of these kids anything could happen.  The Ranch Princess has to take the snow in small doses, only as long as her bare hands can handle the cold because she REFUSES to keep gloves on.  But she still loves it.  And then there's The Rancher's Sidekick.  He thinks that just a skiff is enough to stop EVERYTHING and play.  He hangs on to every last bit of snow like its going out of style (actually, I guess its going even faster than that!) and we sled down the hill hitting as many patches of slush left.  Yes, we love winter and snow and all things cold...

But then there is The Rancher.  All of the sudden, he has grown old and decided, quite logically, that we can do without winter.  Winter and snow and all things cold aren't that great for business.  I can understand that crazy blizzards are terrible to calve in and hard winters are hard on momma cows, but really... a little snow is cool right?  But there is another reason The Rancher doesn't want winter and snow.  Its mostly, like 87.9%, because that means we have to feed cows.  Part of it is just because we want the hay to last as long as it can.  I get it, that's how I feel about cooking dinner.  If I don't do it, the groceries last longer, I'm so sure...  But in reality, he hates doing the same thing day after day.  Every morning he spends hours feeding all the cows and has to turn around and do the same thing day after day.  I've said it before, The Rancher would make a terrible house wife.

So The Rancher prays for winter and snow to evade us as long as possible to put off that dreaded day of feeding cows.  But eventually, the day comes.  Even without the snow to hurry it along, the day comes that the cows have just gone through all of the grass and the cows must come home.  The Rancher must have struck a good deal with the weather maker/grass grower because the last of the cows only came home a few weeks ago.  Those fat cows managed to stay a whole extra month longer than last year.  But home they did come and of course we helped (because we are the best help around!) and of course I took pictures and of course I'm gonna share them with you.

We could call this a sunset cattle drive.  When you start moving cows at 3:30 in the after noon at the beginning of January and have several miles to go, its likely that you won't make it until the sun has set.  Especially if you have slow cows.  I guess they figured everything is supposed to run slower in January, like molasses... In the cowboys defense, this was the second group of cows they were moving for the day.  They figured that if the horses were loaded they might as well get a days work out of them.  So from the desert to the home ranch they moved cows, squished through the mud, and tightened up their cinches, working til the sun set and til the cows came home.

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