20 December 2022

I Don’t Even Know What Day Of The Blizzard

The winds have, for the most part, quieted. The sun has been shining on the black hides of the cows warming them as they rest and recover laying and soaking up the warmth. The children have been off exploring colossal snow drift. The adults have been getting to sit down a little bit. Trying to catch a glimpse of this cabin fever we’ve heard some people talk about. Or at least a bit of rest.
We woke to fog yesterday.
Hoar frost covered tree branches, fences, and animals. The ground and the very air glistened white. God decorated his creation with such beauty it seem sacrilig to disturb it. Still and silent the world shined under its blanket of crystal. Even the sun was decorated, sundogs nearly circling it.
Until the wind came to destroy the tranquility. No longer whipping, instead quiet and insidious. Just enough to blow the crystals in the air at our faces stinging and cold. Falling to the ground they mix with the snow. The windchill dropped and my face froze walking back to the house after feeding.
It was time to try to make it to the store. My husband and children had gone off to work already. The highway was plowed in a fierce battle against drifts. My husband had blown a path clear to get to the highway. We were almost out of milk.
It felt weird reentering the rest of the world. The drifts along the way were fascinating. The roads were mostly clear, just narrow. All the stores were out of milk.
Except our little local store. The one that had been out before the snow. It made me feel dreadfully guilty for giving business to the behemoth instead.
We developed a new kitty through the storm.
The small black cat has been around for a few weeks now. Yowling at us from a distance, we’ve been putting feed out to appease it. It had not been willing to let us get close. By the end of the snow it came to our back door with it’s loud demands.
My husband fed it and petted it. Apparently that broke the barrier. She now not only lets, but noisily request petting and holding. We worry about our own cats response to an intruder and are not willing to let her in the house. She has been spending large parts of her days on the back porch keeping warm and we’re trying to get some weight on her.
Until then she has been Christened Bones. A fitting name for her tiny skeletal form.
17 December 2022

Still Blizzarding

Today was the first nice snow day!
Feeding took a normal amount of time and the cows were happy to come out of their quickly shrinking shelter. The milk cows still needed water hauled to them. We’ll try taking them out a different gate and moving them to water that way this afternoon.
The kids went out to explore the giant drifts in the tree row. They are almost as tall as the trees and from the top we can look past the trees and get our first glimpse of the outside world that we’ve had for days.
The corn stalks caught some snow. That’s why people leave stubble, to catch the snow and provide moisture for next summer.
They didn’t catch all the snow. That’s why it is so deep anywhere there’s shelter.
From the top of the drifts we watched my husband head out with the snow blower. Trying to dig his way to the highway, then to clear his sisters driveway. Our driveway wasn’t bad. Drifts covered the road the whole way to the highway.
The highway was open. For a little ways. As far as people had had to clear to get feed to their cattle. My friend had given it a try to see if she could get to town. She confirmed that it was clear from those peoples house as far as their cows. The snow plows are focusing on busier roads. Nothing on this one has been touched.
16 December 2022

What a difference a day makes.
Not like over night, but during the day. The wind died down a bit. Or the snow has blown to where it is going to blow. The sun was shining and the sky as blue this morning as it was this afternoon. Not that you can tell.
The drifts that were as big as I had ever seen yesterday were bigger today. The cows were tired. They have shelter and food but the constant snow and cold was taking its toll. I feel awful for cows that people can’t get to. There are people who have been digging all day, all day for the last few days, trying to get to cows. We’re lucky to have ours home, close, and equipment that can reach them.
The milk cows are trapped in their nice sheltered place. That’s the problem with shelter. It shelters snow too and drifts build. I’ve been hauling water to them. They have their bale and are good except for water.
I let the horses up to the barn this morning. I was going to let them in. Rust didn’t even hesitate, he jumped right through the chest high snow bank after me when I called. That got them near the barn, but not in it. That last snow bank was chest high and wide. Much wider than the one he jumped through for me. None of them would try it.
It was better sheltered next to the barn and I hauled the last of the hay I had put away in the barn out to them.
When we went out tonight the horses happily left their sheltered place and ran back out to their pen.
Hopefully the wind stays down and we can dig out and have it stay dug out for more than a few minutes.
15 December 2022

Blizzard Forth Day

Today is the worst day yet. It could just be that I’m getting tired. The cattle are getting tired. The long cold and wind is starting to wear on us all. Digging out the same gate over and over again, more snow every time, to get to the cows gets old.
So many things to be grateful for, and I am, so very much. My husband is home with me and the kids, not having to be off somewhere else working. We get to work together, which means we also get to rest together in between. He is capable of fixing the equipment when it breaks so we can keep taking care of the animals.
We have that big equipment to dig out and to help us make sure the cattle are cared for. The cattle have good shelter and there is plenty of feed to keep them happy and warm. Our house is snug and warm. We haven’t lost electricity yet! For the first few days we figured it would be when, not if.
But the wind.
It never stops.
Any path that is cleared gets blown back in in minutes. The drifts are huge. Some taller than I ever remember seeing. Even in shelter the blown snow sifts down from the sky. A fine mist that gets in your lungs. We aren’t going to lose cattle to the cold and snow, we’ll lose them to lung problems afterwards.
Although we have had our first loss. A calf who laid down and died in the middle of the corral. No idea why or what. This will weed out the weak.
We had planned to have calves weaned a couple of weeks ago. One thing or another has kept us from doing it. This storm being one of them. Sometimes it’s good not to get everything done on time. The stress and not having as good of shelter would have been worse for them.
We dug our way out to the bulls this morning. They have shelter, but ran out of hay. It was a fight and some impressive digging. The lane we would have been feeding calves up, had they been weaned, is blown completely shut. Now it’s blocked even more with the round about path that was the easiest way to get to bulls.
The dairy herd wouldn’t walk through a waist high drift to get to water. So I broke through it for them then chased them through. And dug out their trough for grain. Now I need to go back out and make sure they went back to their hay.
The effort of going out and facing that wind again is daunting. My arms ache from digging. My face is wind burnt. My legs don’t ever want to face another snow drift.
But, I have happy children playing at their computers, after spending the morning helping feed and playing in the snow. I got to lay around this afternoon and take a nap! We’re warm, and full, and life is good!
14 December 2022

Second Day Blizzard

The battle for breakfast.
Mostly I think the snow is so beautiful and love taking a million pictures of the drifts. Sharing them means there was a bit more purpose to my taking them.
Getting the horses out of the barn was easier than expected. The gate had blown mostly clean instead of drifting. I opened it up and Helly ran out. Then turned around and asked to come back in please. By then I had freed Rusty and he quickly cleared Heildorf from the gate.
The snow was up to their bellies. They plowed through and made it slightly easier for me to open it up for them to get back out to their pen.
By the time I got to the quanset the children were already there! Yesterday our son came along to feed. He can’t handle the sitting inside and it was best for everyone involved if he got out and used up some energy. Today we forced his sister to come along too.
They were climbing the drifts and snow piles. I got there in time to hear my husband yelling for them to get off the snow pile so he could plow snow there!
My husband plowed with the payloader, then got to where he could get the snow blower out. That cleared faster and better. It wasn’t long at all before we could all pile in the feed truck, me children, and dog, it was full, and start feeding cows.
The cows came for their food. Interested, but not overly enthusiastic. The bales we put out last night had kept them happy. They had shelter and food and came through just fine.
The same can not be said of the snow blower tractor. It made it through enough clearing to feed, then the ball joint on a steering rod gave out.
After spending the morning clearing snow and feeding my husband will be taking that apart and trying to get it patched together enough to work this afternoon. I know how sore and tired I am. I can only imagine how much he is not going to enjoy that and would rather come inside and sit for a bit. I would rather he could come in and sit for a bit too.
Good hard working men are worth their weight in gold and should be fully appreciated.
13 December 2022

Blizzard, First Day

They dismissed school early yesterday. There was a rumor roads would be closed mid afternoon. Before it ever started snowing. A rumor confirmed by the principal. But not actually acted on.
Shortly after school was called early it was canceled for the next two days. I had to run to the next town over to pick up the last gallon of milk they had. In our preferred type. Apparently no one likes skim πŸ˜‰
Then it was home to get ready for the storm.
A load of feed quickly called the cows in from cornstalks and we locked them in the corrals for the night. They’d probably come in one there own but might as well start out with them there.
A heavy mist left a layer of ice on everything. By morning snow had set in. Drifts were high. We either waded through knee high drifts or walked on blown bare ground as we walked down to feed cows.
We had started out driving but snow drifts are hard enough to see in white out conditions, much less through iced over windows. We stuck the suburban almost immediately.
The payloader was parked in the quanset facing out. once we shoveled enough to get the door open it was ready to go to work. The extra help digging helped get the feed truck out much easier. Then it went to work getting the gate dug out enough to get a bale in to the cows.
With bales set out in the most protected spots the cows spent the day snow covered but sheltered and warm. Snow fell gently on their backs instead of wind driven.
The horses chose to stay out for the morning. I insisted on them coming into the barn after lunch. The milk cows and bottle calves are also well sheltered with a shed they can go in.
The animals will make it through this just fine. No idea how much snow there is. Between bare ground and waist high drifts it could be anything. We are good here, luckily because every road in the panhandle is closed. So we are tucked in, enjoying hanging out together.
2 December 2022

Advent Calendar Time

December is here. That means it’s time to start some of our favorite traditions.

Advent calendars!

Not the usual kind. We’ve done that but aren’t very good at it.

We have one new one this year. A Christmas tree. All computery like. It has 25 lights on it. My husband sat down with the kids in the end of November and explained to them how he was programing it. Did i stick? Do they suddenly know how to program in java?


Do I even know that that’s what he was doing it in?

Again, no.

But they were very interested and actually paid attention for once, so there’s that. The lights are coming on one at a time, a new one each day of the month. He showed them the numbers for different colors of light and all the things I have no clue about.

The other one, that we do every year with a LOT of enthusiasm, is Mary and Joseph. They travel around our house having all sorts of adventures. Until, eventually, they reach a stable where baby Jesus is born.

I have fun moving them around and trying to come up with fun things for the pair to do. They ride on horse drawn wagons, in tractors, even trains. We’ve added on considerably to the original stable kit they all came in. Now there are cows, fences, chickens, horses. All the good farm toy set accoutrements.

It will be fun to see what the lovely family gets up to on their trip this year. I love when the kids help with the daily moving and how enthusiastically they search for the new locations.

23 November 2022


We had to go back to eastern Nebraska last weekend. As I was driving on the way home my husband went off about something in the field over there. Did I see it!!
It’s hard to pick something out in a field while speeding down the highway.
Luckily there were no other cars. I managed to spot it.
We discussed if we really could have seen what we thought we thought we saw out there. Just to be sure I flipped around and we went back to look.
Pulling off onto the shoulder we stopped to get a really good look. And some pictures.
It was an elk! A big bull elk. The antlers were clearly visible from the middle of the field where he lay comfortably among a herd of cattle.
We have plenty of elk back here. But to see an elk in the overpopulated civilized eastern half of the state? Ok, maybe more central than eastern. Was he a pet? It seems unlikely but who knows. Was he just wandering through or is there good habitat among the fields and pastures?
No matter what he was fun, and impressive, to see.

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9 November 2022

Doggo, Or Maybe Pansy

I had been wanting another dog for awhile.

Not to get rid of our perfect Daisy. But a younger one to go along and work cows, do things. Daisy had reached a point where she really just wanted to lay in the sun and nap. A good way for and older dog to spend her time.Β  But not much help getting work done.

We talked about it and decided to wait. We didn’t want Daisy to think we were replacing her. I firmly believe that God has given me every dog I’ve had because they were what I needed when I needed them. Daisy for sure. So we decided to wait. If God gave us a dog then we would happily take it. If not, the we weren’t meant to have another dog.

Apparently we weren’t meant to have two dogs.

Then Daisy was gone. She left a big hole. I wanted to fill it. But the perfect dog had to show up. God hadn’t plopped anything in my lap yet.

Until a friend texted to say how sorry she was about Daisy. I thanked her and mentioned that we were looking for a dog. Well, she said. Her husband had picked up some dogs just the other day. They had been abandoned. Hauled out of town and dumped when there were some marital issues. It’s a small town. People knew who the dogs were, even if they did get hauled a few miles out of town.

Starved to skin and bones and left to die the dogs were terrified. They clung to each other in their strange new surroundings. The sheriffs deputies who were caring for them were so good to them, but it was still a scary new place.

One was recognized and the breeder called immediately. She was horrified and had someone who would be there the next day to get her dog!

That left two. Mastiffs, or mastiff crosses, big and bony, they were not pretty dogs and growled and barked at anyone who got close. They were a bit intimidating. When we went to look at them I initially said no. There was no way we were bringing one of these huge terrified dogs around our children. Even if they weren’t mean scared is the most dangerous thing in any animal. Those huge mouths would cause major damage if they snapped in fear, even if no harm was intended.

But they were so pitiful. The deputies were in with them, loving on them, getting their faces right down at nose level. And nobody was getting bit.

I went in with them. My son came with. The dogs coward and shied away. Then the female started following my daughter around the fence. She had stayed firmly outside the pen. She wanted to be by the child. After a bit of that she came over to me. Some sniffing and patience and she was happy to be petted and loved on. Soon the male, the more scared of the two came over too. Once over the initial fear they didn’t show a drop of aggression.

With some doubt and hesitation I said we’d take the female. We had wanted another girl and she was the smaller less afraid of the two.

We had to get a place prepared for her. I’d come back Monday. That way the male wouldn’t be alone either. If no one else took him there was a rescue coming to get the dogs then. Or any of them that were left.

Over the weekend the lady who had originally owned the two mastiff crosses found the facebook post. She was also horrified to see how her dogs ended up. She had just let these people have them last June. It turns out they were brother and sister, lab mastiff crosses born last June. Just a year and a half old. Puppies almost. Exactly the age I had wanted in a dog. They were much loved pets, good with children and house trained. Perfect.

I went early Monday and brought her home. She jumped right in the car and sat very nicely for the ride home.

At home we spent as much time as we could outside walking around together, getting to know her new home. In sixty mile an hour winds. When I couldn’t take it anymore we went inside. Outside we had a kennel set up for her. So we had somewhere safe to put her when she had to be left. She walked through the gate. That made leaving her a little more difficult. She could not be left in the house. I couldn’t just leave her loose. It finally occurred to me that the trailer would work. I moved the freshly bedded dog house in there and we have a dog proof kennel. Even for her. She likes to sit on the roof of the dog house and look out the sides.

I’ve been taking her with me, checking cows and running to town. No more barking and cowering. She’s been very polite and friendly.

She is getting used to cows, chickens, and horses. Not so much our cat, that’s the biggest problem so far. Her favorite thing is to lay around inside. She stretches out and takes up the whole living room. As I sit on the couch working at the computer she lays at my feet, snoring and farting. So happy. And so incredibly stinky!

But what to call her? Such a delicate flower of womanhood needed a fitting name. We’re thinking Pansy. For so many reasons. This huge, uncouth, stinky girl is no pansy for sure! That seems like the best reason of all. We’ll see if it sticks or if we keep calling her doggo.



Category: Dogs | LEAVE A COMMENT
1 November 2022

Rough weekend

It’s been a rough weekend.
The worlds bestest yellow dog has gone missing. No, she’s never tied or confined in
any way. No, she never goes anywhere. In the eleven years she’s been with us she has wandered twice. It would be best if she would how up wondering why we’re acting so weird, she just went for a walk about. In reality, we hope it was peaceful.
She was the best dog anyone could hope for. Always there, loyal and happy. She was a great cow dog. Mostly because she called off. She was patient with the children as they grew from babies to little people who wanted to play. She will be greatly missed and I have a hard time not calling her to hop on the fourwheeler with me, even when it’s going out to search for her again.
Popcorn, our sweet little milk cow has been sick. We thought it was pneumonia but the vet says displaced abdomen. Still need to do some reading up on that.
She appears to be feeling better. She spent the night camping in our yard because she was willing to eat grass and I was willing to get it to her however I could. When she laid down and decided she didn’t want to go back to her pen I ran a single strand of non electric, electric fence around her and left her where she wanted to be for the night. Her temp was a bit low at the vet so we had a blanketed cow roaming our yard.
Today she requested to be let back into her pen, so she is reunited with the bottle calves. I do doubt her decision here πŸ˜‰ But she is finally eating and looks much happier. Hopefully she will make a full recovery.
We will be looking for a dog to fill the empty void Daisy has left. But are not in any rush. We’re still hoping she might show back up. Also, when dogs are meant to be they seem to find you instead of the other way around. So maybe instead of looking we are now waiting to be found.
Category: Cows, Dogs | LEAVE A COMMENT