Wintery Ranch Photo Story
WOW – severe weather here lately – lots of accumulation of snow and sub-zero temperatures!
The view from our house.
Magpies playing in the yard.
Snow piled up on the deck railing.
Cute little cottontail burrowed in the snow.
Following Steve around; heading toward one bunch to feed.
Have to shut the gate behind you each time.
February rain tends to freeze the twine to the bales.
Trusty cow dog, Leonard, always by our side.
Spinning off a bale.
Cows lined up to eat, staying close to keep warm.
Beautiful Coffin Butte and Crazy Mountains in the background. The wind was already starting to blow up top.
Cautious antelope next to the road on the way home.
Squiggly road ahead…and cows at large. See you next week!
iPhone saves the day on the Moe Ranch.
It ‘s been snowing since yesterday at the ranch! All day … all night … and STILL snowing!! Somewhere between 12 and 15 inches of snow has piled up so far.
Usually I love snow-globe days like this. Today…not so much. We’re calving and this much snow and cold puts every newborn’s life in jeopardy. Depending on the temperatures and wind, the “live calf/dead calf window” in these conditions ranges from 20 to 45 minutes.
Today, because we were short-handed, I volunteered to stay home. After helping to shovel out and open gates, I set out to take some snow pictures with my iPhone. Once inside, I checked through the pictures to see what I had. Thankfully! Because one picture captured the telltale sign of calving in progress. Can you spot it?
An SOS text brought Billy to the rescue…literally. He got the newborn inside the barn to dry off. Live calf-1; Snow & Cold-0. Not sure who should get the credit for saving the calf but, I suspect the winner would be… iPhone!
Reflecting On Ranch Life
My job is to drive the tractor, pulling the hay feeder to several different bunches of cattle every morning. The replacement heifers are my first stop. They come out of the brush thicket covered with frost but happy to get their daily ration of hay.
In subzero weather like we’ve had this winter, they get 20% more than normal to help them generate enough heat to make it through the arctic blasts. Next destination—a mile to the east—I am driving through a snow field covered with millions of blue, red, yellow and silver snow crystals, reflecting off the rising sun.
This time it’s the 3-year olds coming out of the thicket to greet me. Heading back to the haystack, I didn’t expect to see any color because my back was to the sun. Instead, there were dozens of snowbows – shimmering yellows and reds and blues—spread out in the snow field ahead of me.
It’s the first time I’ve seen a snowbow in over 50 years of driving these fields. You never stop seeing new and incredible phenomena.
Reflecting On Ranch Life
On most winter mornings, we head out to the porch to welcome the dawn. We snuggle under quilts on the back-porch bed, drink our coffee, eat a carefully selected chocolate and watch what unfolds in front of us. This January, the pre-dawn sky treated us to several showers of falling stars and two new constellations – Corvus and Hydra (night sky guide) – hovering just above the southern horizon. As dawn arrives, our stretch of the Musselshell gradually comes into focus; the herd of resident deer pick their way across the ice to bed down; and the ‘postal plane’ makes its way westward. By then we’re ready to greet the day!