Monday, March 30, 2009

A View From My Room

March entered somewhat like a lamb, if I recall, so it figures that it would leave like a lion. The lion was roaring yesterday! As we read the weather forecasts, starting on Saturday morning and into Saturday afternoon, it was beginning to sound as if the storm was going to hit us this time. So Scott gathered the troops, Liam—our weekend hired hand, and Zane—who sometimes comes with Liam and works for free!?!, along with Benjamin and they began to do some pre-storm preparations. The guys fed and hayed everything while Scott took the truck to Langs Fork Inc. to get a load of straw from the Pluhars. Wayland got him loaded, aired up his tires?!? and sent him on his way. Then Liam and Zane started moving calf shelters around to places that were out of the wind as much as possible and spread straw near the shelters for the mama cows to bed down on.

And then we decided we'd see.

Sunday morning dawned cloudy and overcast and the forecast sounded worse than it did the night before. We called Ryan, our regular hired hand, and in 45 minutes he arrived with 2 gallons of milk, light bulbs and a bag of chocolate chips (I mean you gotta have cookies in a blizzard right?). His only request from me was a cup of coffee; since he left in such a hurry he didn't have a chance to get his normal daily allotment. Scott and Ryan worked until about 1 p.m., moving the 3-4 year old cows into a trap with a nice deep creek, and the older cows into a larger trap with an even deeper creek. It took a while to get all the pairs matched up and even longer to make them stay put after moving them, but finally everyone was pretty well settled. Ryan hooked the 104 amp generator up to the fueled tractor and brought it to the house and got it ready so that all we had to do was throw the switch if the power went out. We figured we were as prepared for the storm as we could be. It started drizzling around noon, and by 3:00 the snow was really falling and the wind was blowing everything sideways.

Scott came in around 5:30 and took a rest, had a cup of tea, and then decided he better go check on the cow who had decided that a blizzard was the optimum time for her offspring's birth. About 15 minutes later, the phone rang. I had an inkling it was Scott and sure enough, he had driven off into a hole in the bottom of the creek and needed some help. I put the oven on timed bake so the scalloped potatoes wouldn't burn, gave the kids each a snack and a sippy cup, rented Tinkerbelle from Dish Network , and got all my warm clothes on: coveralls, coat, gator, hat (by the way, Karen, I've worn that thing an awful lot this winter, Thanks!!), Jackie O sunglasses, and my mittens. I grabbed my phone and my camera and headed out to save the day. As I walked toward the shop in the driving snow, I could hear the wind howling, but I could also hear some of the newly arrived birds chirping away in the shop. It was a really strange contrast! I grabbed the chain out of the tractor and about then, Scott hollered and waved from across the yard. He didn't think I could find him, so he just walked to the house to show me where to find the stranded pick-up.

By the time we got to the creek, we already had about 5 inches of snow and the wind was blowing so hard, it was pretty easy to see why Scott hadn't noticed the hole. I grabbed the camera and took some pictures of the calves in the shelter and on the side of the hill and the cows who were wearing shawls of snow. After several tries, Scott succeeded in pulling the pick-up out backwards, while I kept the wheel straight and tried to give some extra oomph by stepping on the gas while in reverse. I'm sure it would have been pretty comical to watch. Scott was pretty frustrated after fighting the weather and the cattle all day, but he looked at me and said, "I'd fight this any day over the people and traffic in New York City."

Damage control today found that everything had stayed pretty well intact over the night. We figure we received about 6-8 inches of snow, but the wind quit around 11 p.m. and the temperature stayed just under 30 degrees, which made things a little more bearable. We couldn't help but think of our neighbors 100 miles to the south and east of us who were suffering through their 2nd spring storm of the week. Even though it was a busy 24 hours, we were thankful this morning: for the safety of the calves and cows, that the power stayed on, and for the moisture that we received. Soon all this moisture will dry up, the air and ground will warm up, and the green grass, leaves, and wildflowers will start to reveal themselves. Winter will be here for just a bit longer; Spring will come soon. I promise!


The Farmer's Wife said...

I have been looking all day for any green I could find, anywhere, for hope! (Well, there's some in the back of my fridge, but I don't think that counts.) Anyway, it was so good to see the columbine picture!

I took some pictures today when I was out with the cows, but left them at N.'s...of course!

The Farmer said...

Aren't those Flowers in Mary's yard. I distinctly remeber that fence post. Great pic. by the way. Glad to hear the straw was put to good use, and all cows are ok. Tell scott he knew perfectly well where that hole was. Next time he shouldn't drink and drive.