1 January 2019 – Sunny and 4 degrees (-19 Windchill)
Happy New Year! It is going to be hard to beat 2018. We were sad to see it go as it was such a busy and productive year for us, but we are looking forward to more progress and adventures in 2019.
We ended the year with a lot of snow. The forecast was for 1-3 inches on the 30th, but it snowed that whole day and most of New Year’s Eve. We probably have between 8 and 9 inches of snow on the ground. It is beautiful, but the clear skies last night made the morning bone-chilling cold. Or as we like to say, “quite refreshing!”
The cows all took shelter over in the loafing shed and the barn at the High Lonesome. Our barn is full of hay and we don’t have it set up with a corral for the cows yet, so it is nice that they can find a warm place to hide out when the weather gets extreme. While it was snowing, we decided to feed them in the bunks in the corral.
We prefer to feed the cows in the field because when they are all cooped up and squished together someone always gets ticked off and a bar fight breaks out. There is a lot of head butting and snorting and pushing in a small space. Add the snowy/icy conditions to that and there is potential for someone to get hurt. When we feed them in the field, they seem to leave each other alone and enjoy their meals.
Once it stopped snowing, Rancher Dave used the snow plow to create a lane in the field where we could put out hay, and this morning they were back to eating in the manner they (and we) prefer. Most of the cows came running through the field, but three of them decided they didn’t want to make the trip, even for dinner. So they “ordered in” and we fed the remaining three in the bunks. Apparently, they preferred to stay in on New Year’s Eve. Too many drunken revelers for them I suppose. They have us trained pretty well.
We did have some excitement on New Year’s Eve. As I mentioned, we have a young bull and a calf penned up over at the High Lonesome because we are weaning the calf from his Mom. The young bull is there for company. Before the afternoon feeding, Linda was cooking in her kitchen and noticed two calves running through her yard! She and Cowboy Dave ran outside and closed the gate before they could escape to the road and back to the herd. They tried to walk them back to the pens, but the calfies were not having it. Cue the Benny Hill music.
At around the same time, Rancher Dave and I were headed up the driveway for the afternoon chores and feeding. Obviously our priorities changed at that point and the four of us went about the business of catching the escaped hoodlums and pushing them back into the pen. This was really fun in the blowing snow and ice, but we worked together and got them back where they belonged.
It turns out, someone had left a gate open after morning chores. Since Rancher Dave and I do the morning chores, it was pretty obvious that one of us was responsible for leaving the escape route wide open. It didn’t really matter, we all needed some exercise and the calves enjoyed their little rebellion. I suppose there are more exciting New Year’s Eve stories, but we kind of prefer a tamer night on the ranch to a wild party in the city.
We hope everyone out there has a fantastic New Year. Stay warm! It beats the other options.