End of March

What a day. What a start to spring and an end to the month of March. Snow totals aren’t certain due to the winds we had, but the nearest I can guess is that we had a solid foot of snow, which is the most I’ve seen in a long time. I think everyone was a little taken by surprise at the quantity. And it was a beautiful, picture perfect snow, weighing down the pines until the wind swept in later in the morning, flinging the snow upwards from the tree branches back into the sky.

That much snow hampers just about everything, with knee-deep and even waist-deep drifts piling into ditches and against buildings, making a simple trudge downhill to the barn or to the shop take three times as long. The fourwheeler struggled to get around, the animals struggled to get around, the feeding pickup struggled to get around.

Fortunately we weren’t dealing with frigid cold, but the gale-force winds drove the snow into ground blizzards and drifted cattle away from shelter. We went out to feed cows early afternoon and look over everything, and ended up on a wild goose chase to pair up a couple of older cows (who should know better) with calves they had left in the storm, before we bogged down in a drift a mile from the house. Sometimes it is just one thing after another on a day like yesterday.

The wise mamas were hunkered down safely in the shelter of the timbered pastures. Those instincts are beautiful to see. The calves with good mamas did really well, the cows having found good places for them to weather out this storm. The older calves frolicked and played, busting through drifts and scampering about oblivious to the trouble the snow was causing everyone else. And it did my heart good to see the calf we saved a couple of weeks ago enjoying his little life and his first real snow storm. He’s the one with the red ear tag.

The storm did take its toll, as it has on everyone in this region, and as we dig out this weekend we’ll see just what the damage was, just in time to brace for another winter storm system that is forecasted to blow through starting Monday. We need the snow, but we’re praying for the best outcomes possible and for safety of our livestock. For the heifers, hopefully their instincts to shelter will be improved for the next storm as they’ve learned for the first time how to look out for a calf in a real winter storm.

The pups were a riot, about as oblivious and playful as the calves. This was the first big storm they’ve seen and it was pretty hilarious to watch them floundering along, iced over, with mostly just their eyes visible. They could have played all day, but I forced them into the house a few times to defrost. And then kicked them out again when cabin fever started raging.

The storm finally blew itself out late afternoon and the sun set on calm, under a blue sky. What a difference a few hours can make, or a few days. So March drifted out with the sound of snow melting from our eaves.

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