Every year I hope for a nice pretty brown Christmas. It isn’t that I don’t think that snow is beautiful, rather it is that snow storms are hard on my cattle and make my chores more difficult.
I have found over the past 17 years that snow rarely falls in a vertical pattern across the plains of Nebraska. Instead, it whips viciously and horizontally across the horizon.
The snow makes drifts as is blows across the prairie. There are times that these drifts are taller than I am. Fortunately, this go round we have only small drifts…
We place our cattle on a special feed ration (casserole) to help them stay warm during inclement winter weather. We also have windbreaks in the home pens so that they can huddle up and seek protection from the wind.
A constant source of fresh water is vitally important to our cattle’s well-being. When the snow is blowing and the temperatures hover around zero, it is a challenge to keep our water tanks free of ice. We have temperature control valves in each of our tanks which helps the water move around the tank and remain open despite the frigid temperatures. Sometimes we have to chip ice off of the tanks when the valve system fails to keep the waters open.
I am always amazed that even in times of brutal weather, the cattle still want to run and play around their home pens. I have on so many layers of clothing that I waddle like a penguin, but the cattle deftly chase each other demonstrating that to them it is spunky weather.
Down the gravel road about a mile, the Mama cows of some of the cattle in the feed yard are grazing a corn stalk field and gestating next year’s calf crop. They also seem to take the cold weather in stride (at least better than this Florida girl does…).
Although I love the seasons because they mark a simple passage of time, winter is my least favorite of the four. Each year, about the middle of February, my toes want to bury themselves in the warm sand of a Florida beach instead of bundling up inside my winter boots!
What do you do to get through the cold winter months?