Weights In My Boots…

I never knew the purpose of a hooded sweatshirt until I moved to Nebraska.  Quite honestly, I do not think that I ever owned one prior to going to work at the feed yard.  My closest is now full of them, and I wear them daily.

They come in handy...

They come in handy…

The wind across the Great Plains region of the country is merciless.  A breeze is defined by wafts of 30 mph, and we have days where it blusters past 60 mph.  A hooded sweatshirt is my best friend when the Nebraska winds doth blow.  It protects me from the cold, the dust, and the snow that sometimes sweeps in an angry horizontal pattern across our valley.

When the winds top 60mph, I start to think that in addition to my hoodie, I also need weights in my boots.  Those are the days when it seems impossible to stand up straight and I tend to stumble around bracing myself against the gales.  As I do chores, I try to distract myself by thinking fondly of Mary Poppins, but mostly my eyes water – my face stings – and my back hurts from the effort.

The wind alone does not seem to bother them a bit...

The wind alone does not seem to bother them a bit as they choose to walk to the feed bunk for a bite to eat…

My cattle appear to deal with the high winds much better than I do.

  • Perhaps it is the fact that they have four feet on which to balance…
  • Perhaps it is because they outweigh me by 800 pounds or more…
  • Perhaps it is simply because they are tougher than I am!

Whatever the reason, they seem content to rest behind a windbreak, have a bite to eat at the feed bunk, or run around playing with each other as if nothing is out of the ordinary.

Resting comfortably in the home pen after breakfast...

Resting comfortably in the home pen after breakfast…

Last week the cold north wind blew and blew and blew.  Thursday afternoon the gusts topped 60mph, and the weather was just plain ghastly.  Thankfully there was no snow — instead we had dust storms with dirt and remnants from harvested corn fields blazing across our farm.

Piles of corn stalk shucks blown into the ditch at the south end of our corn field...

Piles of corn stalk shucks blown into the ditch at the south end of our corn field…

I was tired when I got home Thursday night, and eternally grateful for the reprieve that the structure that my home offered.  I found myself thinking about the pioneers who trekked across the Great Plains living in wagons and building sod houses when they decided to settle.

As unforgiving as the Nebraska weather is at times, I cannot imagine the tenacity and grit required to survive in those early days.  It makes me thankful for my warm home, and all of the technological advancements that protect me from the elements and help me to care for my animals.

Here you can see the heavy coat of hair that keeps our cattle warm when the cold north wind blows...

Here you can see the heavy coat of hair that keeps this heifer warm when the cold north wind blows…

As we head into the heart of the windy winter season perhaps I should heed the advice of Abraham Lincoln rather than putting weights in my boots…

When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on! 

Abraham Lincoln

10 Comments

Filed under CAFO, General

10 responses to “Weights In My Boots…

  1. cowdoc lana

    I have always been fond of hooded sweatshirts but for cattle work in the bitter winter they are a necessity – although with the snow and the ice and the drifts they walk with great care once situated I too am amazed at their contentment – chewing their cud behind a windbreak. The biggest problem for me this year is keeping the water from freezing – in automatic waterers, tanks and hydrants – good thing I have a hair dryer! In reality I would not like to be anywhere else -wishing you a grand 2014

    • Good to hear from you, Doc! I know that when I am cold in Nebraska that you are colder even yet where you live…Frozen water tanks are a nightmare in the winter—we fight them in our water tanks when the temperatures dip below 10 and the wind blows. We have temperature control valves that are supposed to change the tank to continuous flow to keep it from freezing, but when it gets really cold and windy the system fails. Chipping ice is never fun.

      Stay warm!
      Anne

  2. Carol

    Anne, you’re amazing! Who else would think of Mary Poppins while trying to keep upright to get chores done in those gales?! I always appreciate such a positive attitude. :)

    • Glad to make you smile, Carol! Writing positively helps me to keep positive. There are days that I struggle — this year in particular has been hard with family stress layered on top of everything else.

      I have always thought of Mary Poppins when the wind blows—don’t know why—but it seems to pop into my mind. It would certainly be interesting to take off with an umbrella and fly over the feed yard in the wind. Although, I would have to look fast because it wouldn’t take long for me to be at the Kansas boarder with the terrible winds that we have experienced lately!

      I hope that you all are well.
      Anne

  3. Bobbi

    I keep thinking I need to have my niece paint me some rocks (she loves to decorate rocks)to fill my pockets to keep me in contact with the Earth!

    • Painted rocks in your pockets is an interesting fix to the problem—if nothing else it would make your legs strong!

      Yesterday was beautiful, but today you need the rocks again…We may all blow away before the winter is over. I guess the good news is that if we blow to Kansas, the summer winds would end up blowing us back home to Nebraska in a few months!

      Take care,
      Anne

  4. Oh the wind… it is bad in our neck of the woods also and like you I have the hood on when I go out. You can’t go out without one or your ears hurt so much in the first few minutes of being out there. Marry Poppins Is a good reference for those windy day… I agree I am glad I am not an early settler in these winds ;)

    • Yes, as tough as I claim to be — I don’t think that I am tough enough to have made it back then. As the wind howls, I cringe as I think of living in a sod house or a tipi.

      Get well soon and I hope that you all weather this next storm in good shape.

      Anne

  5. Anne,
    The wind has been horrible here too. Luckily the temps have been in the 30′s. J and I think today was about as bad as any day last week. The winds were constantly 40+ mph with gusts over 70. We went to read bunks and look over the calves at 3:30 this afternoon and the wind had gone down a lot. The temp had dropped 20* from this morning.

    I am hoping this is our share of wind so it will leave us alone during calving season.

    If you find a good deal on boot weights, let me know.

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