I don’t know how the rest of you spent New Year’s Day and the day after, but I can tell you how we spent ours. And I apologize in advance for the quality of the photos- they were all taken with my cell phone 1. because there isn’t room in the tractor for the camera really and 2. because it was so freakin’ cold this day, that camera really has trouble staying warm enough to do a good job.
We’d actually planned a get together, down at Bud’s house. Bud is Zach’s little brother, for those of you wondering. But a blizzard blew in on Thursday and sort of raged on and off through Saturday morning. It was so bad in fact, that even though we planned to just drive the 1/4 mile down to their house from ours on Saturday we had to cancel the party because the drifts were blowing in faster than Bud and Big Green could plow them out.
That meant that New Year’s Day, we’d be plowing a LOT of snow. We didn’t get down to see the cows that day because it took so long to clear out the snow around the place that it was all they could do to get all the animals at corral situated and watered and what not.
Here’s what the front door looked like when we opened it New Year’s Day. Keep in mind that Zach and Ty had cleared it three times the night before. Zach opted to leave the screen door open so that we could get outside in the morning if the snow continued to blow in too bad.
Yes, that is snow in the corner of the door, and yes, had the screen door not been open, we’d have had a heck of a time getting out in the morning!
After getting all of our chores done around the ranch on New Year’s Day, we knew we’d be heading to one of our river pastures to see the cows on Sunday. There is snow everywhere.
Here we are pushing the first of what was probably 6 or 7 miles of a trail to find the cows:
Most of our cow herd was pushed into the neighbor’s pasture during the storm, and we had to go all they way through two of our pastures, and over to their pasture to get to them. We headed down a ridge to see how close we could get to them and almost got stuck.
You can’t see it from the photo above, but that snow was probably close to 5ft high on both sides by the time we plowed our way through it.
The plan was that we were going to find the cows and then Bud would bring the pickup (which would contain lots of cow cake) so we could cake the cows. He called shortly after Zach told him where we were to say that he hadn’t made it in to the pasture but a quarter of a mile before he got stuck. We were on our way over to meet him when he called, but it was slow going, because despite the fact that we were on a flat, there were so many drifts blown in so tight, that it took us three different routes to get over to him because sometimes even Big Green would say, there’s too much snow here for me to move!
This is looking back at the final trail we blazed. As an aside, I rode through here yesterday on my way to bring the cows home- that is in and of itself an adventure story that should certainly be told, but now let’s just say that the horse I was riding is nearly 5 feet tall at the withers and the height of those drifts after they’d been plowed through was about 2/3 of the way up my horse!
We finally got the pickup unstuck, and headed back down to call cows. They were glad to see this:
Cow cake is an extruded feed- with corn and other grain feeds in it. It’s very high in protein, which is what helps keep the cows warm in the winter months here in this frozen north of South Dakota. It’s also got lots of vitamins and minerals to help the calves that these mama cows are carrying.
Here you can see Zach clearing some snow off and that the cows are quite interested in what’s in the back of this pickup!
It was at this point that I longed for the big camera:
This was such a pretty scene, and you can see why- the sun is breaking through the clouds, and the girls are all standing patiently waiting to be fed. But the BB photo will have to suffice as it’s the only one I got!
Hey there girl!
Once we got those cows caked, we headed back to our pasture to cake about 50 or so cows that were in that pasture. They were down by the watering hole (that somehow managed to stay open during the storm) that we’d cut open several times in the past few days. The snow was really drifted in hard and deep down there:
Before we headed down to the river bottom, the boys had shoveled the remaining cake into the bucket of the tractor, and since we were clearly buried up to our axles in snow, we needed to get the cake fed before we could dig our way back to a less snowed-in area. That meant that Zach had to take it by the shovelful and toss it to the cows about 30 yards away.
I guess all told we spent probably 5 hours plowing our way down and back; we even came home after we got Bud unstuck, to have lunch!
And that my friends, is another day in my life.
Until next time- Happy Trails and Happy New Year!