Hello from the land of snow!
Can you finally see us out here? The snow is finally settling! If you add up the total inches accumulated, we have had like 71" of snow. Is that not insane?! That is over 5 feet of snow! But don't imagine that all fluffy 71" are still standing like they just fell. Some of that snow was way heavy and packed everything down with it. We had a week of warmer weather that helped melt things down a little too. And we actually had a couple of inches of rain that dropped the level down even more.
We have been praying for the moisture for so long and we feel so blessed to finally have it. But in the dry spell that we have been having the last few years, we might have forgotten the not so awesome side of so much moisture.
Now, I want you to know I AM NOT COMPLAINING! Just simply explaining the challenges of having so much snow. Because there are challenges, friends. Besides the obvious road closures keeping us from going ANYWHERE, school snow days, and hours spent cleaning off my roof so it won't fall in (I might have been stuck up there for a while...), the biggest challenge has been keeping the cows on the up and up.
I've told you before that we winter our cows down in Locomotive (some come home for the fall and until mid-February, but then they end up back down there...). Its a great place to have them for the winter because, generally, there is no snow. Or just a little bit of snow. That makes it better for calving, less sickness, and not having to feed them everyday. But when you have so much snow their bellies are dragging through the snow, they certainly can't get to the feed underneath it.
So this winter, with the snow-pocalypse and all, we are having more work than ever!
When the storms first started coming through, we pushed the cows as far south as we could where the the storms had been less severe and there was more feed available. Ironically, it always happened to be on a Sunday that the guys from the association wanted to move them. You might not think that would be any worse than any other day of the week, but wrestling 3 kids alone in church is rough, friends. If you don't know what I'm talking about, come visit next Sunday...
Back to the cows...
So even after getting the cows south, enough storms came that NOT feeding them wasn't an option anymore. So then they had to bring them back up to where we could get to them with hay. And that was a lot of work.
First they had to find all the cows. And if you know cows, once a storm hits they just start moving- moving to find shelter or feed or whatever... But they just start moving and when there are hundreds and hundreds of acres for them to go, it takes a while to finally find them all. The Rancher didn't complain too much at this. I mean, when you HAVE to go snowmobiling all day for your work, it can't be all bad, right?
But after finding the cows, they had to get them up to the feed yard. That was definitely a challenge... Of course the cows were going to struggle moving through the snow and would fight you nearly every step of the way. I probably wouldn't want to move my big pregnant self through so much snow for miles either. So the guys pulled out all the graters and tractors and ... (I don't even know what all equipment they had!) and they plowed a path to trail the cows back.
And now to have 1,100 cows are rounded up together, it takes a lot of hay and a lot of time to get them all fed. I'm pretty sure right now, all the guys do is push snow and feed cows. Feed cows here at home, drive to Locomotive, feed cows there, and if there is any time before dark, they push snow. Seriously, it is all they do.
And it is exhausting.
I think it wouldn't be near so bad if we were all healthy, but we are not. Sickness has gone through the ranch, not to mention other issues (like being run over by a cow and lacerating your liver...). So while we are trying to heal and get healthy, we are using all our energy to keep the cows on the up and up.
I'm honestly a little worried about the guys. This is the time of year things are slow and they get to recuperate before calving and then branding and then turnout and then summer... But I don't think anyone is feeling rested after these last few weeks! It could be a long few months ahead of us.
But we are still SO thankful for the snow!
Now we just pray for the energy to withstand it all... Did you know there is more snow in the forecast? Yay... (I might be crying inside....) !!
Thinking happy and warm thoughts,
The Rancher's Wife...