Snow!

It’s been a cold, snowy winter so far. A couple of days ago we got about 10 inches (or 3 feet according to Rick) of fresh powder on top of the 8 inches already on the ground. It is absolutely beautiful if I must say so myself.

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Very pretty but also very hard to maneuver around. Since the critters have to be cared for every day no matter what the weather is, we do have to be outside. As long as you have the right clothes, boots, gloves, scarf and hat it is not bad; especially if you are working – that does keep you warm.

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alx-and-calvesRick and Alex do most of the heavy work around here – someone has to stand by and take pictures of them – so they stay pretty warm they tell me. The cattle do fine as long as they have plenty of feed, water and shelter. After the fresh, powdery snow we’ve had really cold (for us) temperatures – I think 10 degrees is our low so far – so most everything is frozen. I don’t think we will miss the snow when it is gone, but I will enjoy looking at the pictures.

Snow Baby

The two feet of snow we got a few days ago is slowly melting away, but there is still quite a bit on the ground. You can see the cows have made trails from their shed to the feed and water trough.

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Rosie the heifer was hanging around the water trough this morning and didn’t go up to eat with the others. Very unusual.

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Hmmm . . .

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Yes, there is a newborn calf snuggled up next to the water trough.

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The calf was already dry so it had to be at least 2 or 3 hours old. Obviously Rosie, who is a first time heifer, didn’t need any help giving birth – and that is a good thing! She calved in the shed and then moved her baby out into the warm sun. We watched them and soon the calf was up and Rosie went to the feed trough to eat hay. I am always amazed at how soon those little ones are up and around.

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Later in the afternoon we heard a lot of mooing and went to check on the new mom. And guess what?

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Rosie was unhappy because her baby was outside the fence. Those little ones are so small they can pretty much just walk between the fence boards. One of the many things on our “to do” list is to put hog panels on the maternity pen fence so the newborn calves can’t get out.

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We opened the gate and guided the calf – who is a heifer – back into the pen with her mama and everyone was happy.

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And soon the calf was running through the snow, which doesn’t seem to bother her a bit.

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A great start to our calving season! One down, eighteen more to go.

Winter Wonderland

Guess what we woke up to this morning? Yes, snow and lots of it. We haven’t had this much snow in a few years.

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I believe this is all due to Rick. Both times we got snow earlier this year we were out of town and he has been whining, complaining, commenting that he really missed the snow. God heard him, because we have snow now.

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At least a foot of fresh powder overnight and more is still falling.

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The cattle don’t really seem to mind, and as long as you keep them well fed they stay warm.

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They also have sheds for shelter.

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I love the patterns the fresh snow leaves. This is the fence line on our upper pasture.

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The snow covered our squeeze and chute and is hanging off the fence.

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You can see our little ranch truck is pretty well covered.

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And here is our store building covered in snow.

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Two little snow birds on the pasture fence.

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Our stock trailer wearing a snow hat.

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The trap fence is covered too.

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The snow is only supposed to last a couple of days before the weather changes and it all melts off. I hope that happens; we are getting very close to calving season and it would be easier for those babies if they aren’t born in the snow.

Where in the World?

Rick and I have just returned from a cattle show. Yes, Alex stayed at the ranch and did all the work all by himself.  Here are a couple of pictures from our trip. This was the parking lot of the hotel, as you can see it snowed – actually it snowed twice, this was the first time. At least 4-5 inches and a cold wind blowing. Brrr!

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The cattle pens – and the people taking care of the cattle – were outside. Most people had set up some kind of tent or shelter and had portable heaters.

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Any guesses where we went?

Winter Sunshine

After days of rain – over 7 inches in the last 3 days – the sunshine was a welcome sight.  Everyone was ready for some dry weather. Both human . . .

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. . . and bovine.

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The storm left snow in the mountains around us. This is Diobsud Peak, one of my favorite views from the ranch.

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All the mountains around us are dusted with snow.

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While the cattle are eating their hay, the dogs were enjoying the sunshine.

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Molly seems especially comfortable sunbathing.

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Snow on the mountains to the east of the ranch.

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Late in the afternoon the fog starts to roll in.

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Hopefully the weatherman is right and we will get a few more days of sunshine before the next storm rolls in.

A Change in the Weather

All our cattle – steers, cows and calves and the two bulls –  are back at our home ranch now, just in time for some rainy, rainy weather. We got a little over 3 inches of rain in the last 3 days. You can see the puddles of water standing in the pasture. Our soil drains very well, so the puddles will be gone in a day or two.

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Today though the rain stopped and it was just clouds hanging low on the mountains.

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And then a little patch of blue sky appeared.  All the rain we got was snow on the mountains around us. You can see the snow-covered mountains off to the left.

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The clouds parted and patches of blue sky appeared.

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Rick took advantage of the dry day to fill the water trough in the bull pen. We have part of the water line to the bull pen done, but it isn’t finished yet, so we are watering the bulls with the 55 gallon drum we fill with water and tractor bucket. Gravity is our friend!

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Here is why you need a head gate at the feeding trough – so the critters don’t stand in their feed. Very messy and they waste a lot of good hay.

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Another glimmer of blue sky through the trees as the sun goes down.

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And a couple of hours after these pictures were taken, the skies were clear and the weather turned cold.  35 degrees at 5pm – it will probably be down in the 20’s tonight. Makes the fire in the wood stove feel really good.

Mountains

The weather here on our ranch in the North Cascades has definitely changed in the past couple of days. A cold front blew through and guess what? I’ll give you a clue, here are our cattle pens and squeeze chute last week. See Lookout Mountain in the background that towers over our ranch? 

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 Here is the mountain today. SNOW! Already.  And it’s chilly out there too.

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 I’m not sure we are ready for this – seems awfully early in the season, but it is beautiful.  Makes for some very dramatic cloud formations with our trees in silhouette. 

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This is the mountain to the south of us, also snow-capped and cloud covered.  I love living here in our mountains, it is beautiful any direction you look.

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Ready or not, I think winter is coming.