Ranch life in the Big Sky state through the eyes of one who has lived through it...so far.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Diggin' It

So it snowed again. As usual, we got a little more of the white stuff than pretty much anybody, with the possible exception of the top of the mountains. 


That's one of my house cows as seen out my front door on Friday morning. She and two others plus their calves showed up as the storm started Wednesday night and spent the duration hunkered in the trees in my front yard. Those three were the only ones we were able to feed on Thursday. We couldn't even get hay up to the expectant mothers in the indoor arena, because of near zero visibility and drifts like these:


Friday morning it was time to dig out. First, we had to get the cows out of the arena, which meant getting the fifteen foot tall front doors open. Greg dug out the biggest part of the drift with the tractor, then I had to clear out the rest with a shovel. To add to the fun, the storm started with rain, making huge sheets and chunks of ice on the wall, the doors, and the track the door runs on. As I tried to push it open, the ice broke loose and pelted me on the head and arms. Meanwhile, forty cows were piled up just inside the door, waiting for me to get it open far enough to trample me on the way out. 


Then it was on to the bulls. All of the yearlings were trapped in the upper lot by a huge snowdrift. The only way to get them out was to shovel a trail, which ended up looking more like a tunnel. For reference, that fence you can see behind the drift is five feet tall. 


Whew. Done. Well, except for the horses. They were in that barn in the top picture. The geldings were no problem, just open the back door and let them break their own trail out through the back corral. But the mares had to come out the front door. The one beside that pickup that's just barely visible under that big honkin' drift. Yeah, that one:


Once all the horses had been freed, all I had to do was shovel out the back of the pickup to find the hay bales, load them one at a time on the four wheeler, and drag them out to wherever I could find a spot that was less than belly deep. 


Then it was back to the house and the most important job of the day. The power had finally come back on. Time to clear the snow away from the satellite dish so the kid could watch his cartoons. 
So much for the morning. Now all we had to do was find the rest of the cows and calves. 



12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi

hope you guys are all ok and didn't loose any calves - i rember the one that struck the year i was there for 36 hours, we lost 3 calves. but this dropped more snow than that, another in june 2002 droped 8ft in the mountains when cattle were out to pasture , alot of animals were lost with that one - hope you don't loose any - wow pics are great though! but i also know whats its like to be there so im with you in spirit! sadie

Stan Grace said...

Ranching isn't all romance as shown here by the real side that has to be taken in stride.
Nature is a great task master and not as fragile as some believe.

Julie Weathers said...

Kari,

I so love Montana, but these pictures bring it all back. There was a reason I headed south after that horrible winter feeding with the team.

I hope you all are doing well and didn't lose any cattle.

Julie

ArkansasCyndi said...

Holy cow, Kari. I'm exhausted just reading this. I don't think I'd make it on a ranch. I think I might be too lazy!

Stan is right...if "real ranching" was shown in romance novels, they'd be no time for romance...hero and heroine too tired for sex!

Crystal said...

hehee

ARranchhand said...

Thanks for sharing that day in the snow. It's hard for me to imagine all that snow this time of year seeing how I am from Arkansas. I was driving through a pass in the Big Horn mountains of Wyoming last year and saw more snow in May then I had seen my entire life. haha And when we had a couple inches of snow one weekend in June, I thought hell was freezing over. Haha, guess this ole boy will just have to learn to adjust if I ever make it to live up that way. Beautiful country!

By the way, I will share a link to this on twitter (#AgProud) and on my facebook group (I am Agriculture Proud). These are the kind of stories that people love to hear; the work we go through just because we love life on the ranch so much. Thanks! --Ryan Goodman

GreenRanchingMom said...

Lord, what a day!! Thanks for taking care of the animals!! Then the munchkins's tv!

Shelby said...

unbelievable! Yet i know it must be true.. pictures are hard to dispute.. man, be careful and stay warm.. wow.

LINDA M. FAULKNER said...

Gorgeous pictures! I am a transplant from New England to western Montana and haven't found ANY scenery that beats Montana winters.

prairierunner said...

Yikes! We had some rain out of the same deal but I'm thankful we didn't get what you did.

Weekend Cowgirl said...

I know the snow provided so much extra work for you, but love your snow photos. I also just love that a few cows took up residence in your yard. How smart were they??!

Juliet DeMasi said...

I really do not miss the Hi-Line (well, the weather at least). I hope the remainder of your animals were found safe and sound.