Thursday, December 31, 2015

Colder Still

When it’s sub-zero, everything is doubly difficult on a ranch. The water troughs need chopped daily and the ice thrown clear, the trucks and tractors don’t want to start, and everything creaks and groans with the weight of cold. Including us, of course.

I feel bad for the livestock, but if they have enough feed and a good drink they’ll be okay. We methodically make our rounds each morning to every herd, feeding and tending water, and don’t expect to do much else during the day.   

I ran into a friend, a fellow rancher, in town, and asked him how they were doing keeping the cattle and sheep tended. He said, “Don’t do it!” I laughed and replied, “It’s too late!”

I walked to grandmas in a face mask on the coldest day. Mark drove by as I was headed out the driveway and said he didn’t think I was tough enough to make the walk. Humph! As I walked, I heard loud popping noises coming from the neighboring field. At first I thought it was goose hunters, but then decided it must be ice breaking on the canal. The sound was stiff and hard and beautiful.    

Mark caught a mean virus and had to sleep in the recliner last night to get a breath. I hate when he gets sick and still has to be out in this every day.

Callie made it back to New York City. That seems like forever away. As we were headed to the airport we talked about her “vacation.” It was mostly family parties and tending cows.

We moved cattle on Christmas Eve which was an event. It was going swell until the last leg when the cows discovered alfalfa under the snow and spread out far and wide grazing. The kids were on foot and got caught too far from the pickup and trailer which housed a horse and a 4-wheeler, brought along for just such a situation. When I finally got there with the back end and my dog to help, they were exhausted and mad. We got the cows put away, but it was with much gnashing of teeth. Now it’s only another memory of another Christmas. At least the kids were together, fighting the same battle.

It’s always been thus - a ranch kid’s holiday.

you go . . . no, you go!