Friday, November 18, 2011

Snow Herding

The snow got deep enough, or rather the wind got deep enough, that we had to bring the cows part way down from the mountains. Even with the county snow plows running we had to chain up all four tires to get out.

We were able to get the horse trailer to the herd, but then needed to take an alternate route trailing home, so we left the trailer and ventured forth with the pickup and three horses. We got the herd gathered and put them on the road in a bone-numbing wind. Coveralls and headgear, covered with a slicker to cut the wind, were the only reason we made it. Still we were thoroughly chilled by the time we made it to the overnight field.

Mark and I stayed in a cabin close by, actually a warming hut on our grazing co-op’s land, built and maintained by the Sno-Riders, a local snowmachining group. It's a great example of multiple use, we use it during the grazing season, they use it during the winter.

Someone said something about a romantic interlude, well . . . not exactly. We arrived late in the evening, got a fire going in the woodstove, and had hot soup Mark’s mom had sent. The cabin is clean except for dead flies all over the carpet; oh for a vacuum! It got dark soon, so we kept our boot liners on and tried to ignore them. Then as the cabin got warm, more flies came to life and started falling out of the window seal. Between the drone of flies hitting the windows, the whine of the wind through the stove, having to stoke the fire and then being cooked to death when it got going, it was a long night. We got up once and killed a few hundred flies, but they just kept coming so we went back to bed.  

The next day dawned perfect. Homemade breakfast burritos in tin foil and warmed over coffee, sunshine, a brilliant royal blue sky - and no wind! Mark rode lead and I brought up the tail end on Anna, our grey mare, but Kate did most of the work flying through snow drifts keeping the cows going. Our ride took us through stands of quakies, a monochromatic world of black and white trunks making shadows on the snow - and miles of sagebrush. Moving dry cows (no more calves) is always a pleasure. We were warm and it was dead quiet, just the rustle of hooves through the snow.

The cows made it to Brush Creek in good time. Hopefully we can stay until Thanksgiving, but more snow is in the forecast so they may be on our doorstep before the holiday. 

1 comment:

  1. What a fun story mom!
    The drama of the night of flies, being cold and then cooked to death when the fire got going, made for the morning story a peaceful, sort of real-life fantasy ending. The descriptions of the monochromatic landscape, the blue sky, and the quiet shuffling feet gave a a pleasing clear picture. And what a great metaphor for life.