The blizzard that resulted from winter storm Kayla wreaked havoc on our farm Tuesday and Wednesday. We received over a foot of snow with winds up to 50 mph. The worst of the storm passed through from 8:00am – midnight on Tuesday.
Since our day at the feed yard starts at 6:00, we all arrived safely Tuesday morning before the worst of the storm. My favorite farmer opened up the gravel road between our house and the feed yard with a tractor and I followed behind with my favorite blondes in my 4 wheel drive Tahoe. We all spent the morning clearing snow, scooping the feed bunks, and delivering breakfast to the cattle.
Our bunk sweeper broke on the first feed bunk, so we scooped bunks the old fashioned way — with a shovel. Between our 24 feed bunks, that made a length of more than 3500 feet to be cleared with a scoop shovel both Tuesday and Wednesday mornings. Fortunately, we had the bunks cleared of snow and full of breakfast for all of the cattle by about 10:30am.
About the time we finished morning feeding, the storm got really nasty and we had some challenges getting feed trucks (and my Tahoe) from the feed yard back to the shop. Visibility was non-existent and the snow drifts formed so quickly that we could not keep the alleyways open. It took an hour to get all of us out of the feed yard and less than a half a mile back to the shop having to use the pay loader and the tractor to get “unstuck” multiple times. At that point, we all rested and ate some chili that I had made Monday night.
Winter storm Kayla dominated all of Tuesday afternoon. My foreman and his son stayed at the feed yard and were able to reopen the roads and deliver the second feeding of the day about midnight Tuesday night when the weather showed signs of improving. The rest of us arrived back at the yard about 6:00am Wednesday via tractor and 4 wheel drives to re-scoop bunks, move snow out of the corrals, and help deliver breakfast.
Consistently delivering feed is very important during winter storms as the digestion process helps the cattle to remain warm and weather the environmental stress. It is priority #1. I am incredibly proud of my crew and my family for their hard work and dedication. The herculean effort that goes into caring for cattle during a blizzard is truly difficult to describe, and the welfare of our animals is dependent on our perseverance.
Below are some pictures from after the blizzard conditions abated. I have to take my gloves off to take pictures which limits the volume of them …
We are all tired and glad that the “emergency” time is over. It will take at least a week for us to completely dig out from the blizzard, but we are thankful to have come through the event successfully. We did our best to offer care despite Mother Nature’s wrath. The girls will all head back to regular school tomorrow :)