Howdy! During the last month or so I’ve learned that life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass…it’s learning to dance in the rain. Or snow in our case. We have survived incredible blizzards and stormy conditions over the last few weeks.
I don’t believe I’ve seen this much snow in the 3 years that I’ve lived here. And certainly not in the month of APRIL. It was such a whiteout that I couldn’t see where I was going and could barely keep the wheels turning on the four wheeler.
Let me introduce you to Polaris tracks aka, life-saver. Our gracious neighbors let us use this so that we could get things done around here.
What does one have to do in such ferocious conditions you may ask? Well, feed cows for one thing, but I’d like to update you on the changes to the Uprooted Magnolia and the Cowboy. First, you must endure these images like we have endured living through this. Keep in mind, in most places it was knee-deep and in some spots, it was up to my waist. I’m average height.
We were snowed in. But the determined and very responsible cowboy HAD to leave the ranch in order to get his cows and calves fed on the meadows at the bluffs.
As we busted through drifts, snow piled up on the hood and we could barely see our exit.
Then we just couldn’t see anything at all.
So we (Patrick) stopped to clean the snow build-up off the hood and convince ourselves (me) to go further. But what did I do? While Patrick observed the road conditions, I took pictures of the snowed in ranch.
Once we got 6 miles out of the ranch the roads were good and we made it to the bluffs to feed the hungry cows. They were glad to see us. As you can see, they weren’t getting any grub underneath all that snow.
Sunsets over a snow blanketed pasture are always a calming sight.
One of the snowy evenings I saw the turkeys roosting in the trees behind our house.
So now the snow has melted, the skies are clear and the sun has set on our days at Dakota Ranch.
The ranch has been sold to a new owner and Patrick and I are moving on. But moving our home in this springtime blizzard was extremely challenging. Challenging in so many ways.
For the next couple of months we will stay in the hills of Southeast Wyoming and are excited about where life will take us. Some wonderful friends have opened their home to us while they live 80 miles away for the summer. My days are filled with caring for chickens, ducks, goats, a fuzzy pooch, and of course Matilda. My calendar is once again filling up with photo shoots and we are getting settled in to our routine for this spring and summer. We will continue working hard for our new home. This has been a huge year for change, and it’s only April. What else will we conquer? Stay tuned. I’m sure there will be a lot of new adventures.
*Hugs* ~ Leah
I couldn’t see the road this morning when I headed out to do chores. I made my own in a few spots.
This lovely lady was scrounging for breakfast.
It isn’t very cold. The water in the irrigation ditch isn’t frozen but the buildup of snow is almost up to my knees and it’s still coming down as I type this to you this morning.
White caps on the river rocks.
So is this what the month of April is going to bring from now on?
I was lied to. I was told that turkeys aren’t very aggressive in the cold, much less in snow. Well, when a gobbler wants what he wants, no spring blizzard is going to keep him down.
Click on the picture or go HERE to see more pictures of turkey’s courting their hens who, by the way, seem less than interested in them.
Hope you have a great start to your week. We are off to feed the cows again in the falling snow.
We drove off the ranch yesterday to head to the bluffs to check on Patrick’s cows. We branded them this weekend and took them to new pasture and then bam, a blizzard hits when we least expect it. And that’s just tough on the sweet baby calves.
Snow was still falling by evening and blowing across the road.
When we got there, they seemed very spry and excited to see us.
We got out and looked everybody over. They were a little frosty but everyone looked good and healthy.
But looking over the pasture, there wasn’t much grass peeking through and nowhere for them to lay down to be protected from the cold ground. That’s where we come in. Patrick attached 2 chains to the pickup and the hooks on the other end locked into the hay bale so I could pull it off the stack.
We dragged it over to the cows and Patrick got out to cut the strings.
The girls were a little impatient! I backed the truck up unrolling the bale while Patrick helped to pitch off the hay to them. When the bale got smaller, I stopped the pickup and jumped out to help. We pushed the bale and rolled it into the trees so they had something warm to lay on and be protected from the wind.
By the time we were leaving, the calves made their bed on the fresh hay while their mothers were chowing down.
Warm and toasty. Well, not really. But at least they are covered in leather!
We checked on them at about 5 this morning and they still had a lot of hay left and the entire herd was bedded down on the hay. They looked good, just a little cold. We’ll roll out another bale this evening for them to help them get through this crazy weather. At least the sun has finally come out. That should warm them up a bit.
Just another day in paradise y’all!
Well, the weatherman was right and we are buried in it. It hasn’t let up ALL day. Snow still coming down and blowing all around. I’m used to snowfall in April, but not a blizzard. We’ve been waiting for this all winter!
Tis the season where Wyoming cannot decide what she wants to do. Yesterday she rained with a little snow mixed in. She blew, she stood still, she grew warm and then she howled for most of the night.
Now the weatherman says she will dump about 10 inches of snow on us tonight through tomorrow. But I’ll believe it when I see it. All winter we’ve been teased by the weatherman that we would get some great moisture from storms and all she does is sprinkle on us… and sometimes not even that. At least my camera and I get to capture the confusion in her skies and bring them right to you.
This little trio has been running wild around the pasture. They are the oldest of all the calves so while the younger ones stick close to momma, these three are gaining some independence. Pretty fun watching them grow up.
The weatherman threatened a massive blizzard this past weekend and nothing happened. Zilch. Nada. But two nights ago it finally snowed and we had about an inch on the ground yesterday morning. It melted by mid-morning down low but yesterday evening, Squaw Mountain still beamed with a bright snow glow.
We had a heckuva snowfall Saturday night. We’re hoping that the wind lays down so we can absorb the moisture. Looks to me like the horses are plotting against working for a living and are going to break into the hay stack.
February has entered with a bang!
I won’t bore you with the details of the numerous lemons life has served us that we are struggling to make lemonade with, but I will show you the progression of stormy skies that welcomed this second month of 2013. It was a wild party in the sky most of the day with only gray and overcast during the morning . The real show began after noon.
On my way to care for a neighbors farmily, I noticed the gray skies hovering over the Cooney Hills and blue skies with snow over Squaw (not pictured).
Back at home the sky went from gray to blueish purple with high winds and wet snow squalls for a couple of hours.
We went to town to take care of some ranch business and looked back toward the hills. That’s Squaw Mountain back covered with snow from the afternoon squalls. That cloud separation in the middle is pretty wild eh?
Coming back home, the sun was starting to set behind the hills.
The space there between the hilltops and the upper clouds is dead air, calm and cool. Wind is sweeping off the hills and whipping into the lower clouds just above the road.
Once back home, the sun went down behind the mountains. The clouds cleared out overnight and Saturday was cool and clear.
Phew! What a way to start off the month.
“Umpteen thousand acres and they have to run in the middle of the road!” says every rancher in Wyoming.
I wanted to share a few images with you of this past weekend. It is VERY cold, like 10 (or so) below zero cold, and I haven’t been out much. But I did step out at sunset to grab these peaceful scenes.
It’s a solid blanket of white and glitter except for the footsteps of deer trailing down to the river.
The river is totally frozen over so I’m sure they have to break the ice with their hooves to get a chilly sip.
I posted this image on my facebook page this weekend after a few email requests to show what below zero looks like. About 2 inches of snow fell on the ground Friday night and a light skiff last night. The ground is frozen underneath and with these low temps, it isn’t going to go anywhere anytime soon. Brrrr.
After moving cattle through the meadows and up to the top of the hill, I watched the sunrise illuminate the hills behind the ranch. With the moon still hanging high, I filled my eyes (and my lens) with the amber and gold and the beautiful blue sky. It’s a soothing way to start the day.
The snow melted off as quickly as it arrived. I’m glad the ground got a drink before the wind picked up.
I love that in these wide open spaces, you can see the shadows of the clouds from miles away.
We woke up to a blanket of snow this morning.
Squaw Mountain is barely visible from here.
The clouds are full and heavy.
The cows are rooting around in the snow to get to the grass.
By the looks of this girl, I don’t think they are hurting. I’m not sure if she could fit another bite in that belly.
We couldn’t fit another bite in ours either after feasting with family this past weekend.
I hope you had a fulfilling Thanksgiving break with family and friends.
Snow started to fall on us early Saturday morning and came down of and on throughout the whole day. I walked my regular path between snows but still came home with my equipment covered in snowflakes.
It was so still and so soft all weekend. The only thing I heard during my walk was a hawk flapping his wings above and a bald eagle that took off from somewhere near the river.
Today the wind is howling and soon we will be back to our a blanket of gold.
We had a beautiful blanket of snow yesterday morning and by afternoon it began to melt away. Autumn leaves were peeking through the slushy snow and some are still hanging on to the tree limbs. I’m sure the wind this weekend will take them all away but I’m going to hold on to this sight for a while.
Have a great weekend!
The country road that takes me home.
The cottonwoods are changing from green to gold overnight. I love this time of year.
We’ve been enjoying wet weather for the past 36 hours or so. A soft rain started falling two evenings ago and a thick fog hung over us all day yesterday and still lingers this morning. We welcome the cool air and I bet the ground is enjoying a drink.
I photographed this quiet scene a day after the cowboys worked cattle from sun up to sun down. I wasn’t there but I heard about it. And that’s all I have to say about that.
Hope your Thursday is cool and tranquil. Friday is almost here folks.
We had a crew out to help us move the cattle across the Plains this week.
The guys saddled up as the sun rose and I prepared the truck with water, lunch and simple amenities that the guys may need during the trail.
I drove to the first gate and waited for a couple hours. Then, on the horizon a couple of miles in the distance, appeared a cowboy and a few cows.
They trailed down the hill with one cowboy leading the way and the others bringing up the middle and rear.
The cattle filed in along the fence line and Patrick counted them as they went through the gate.
They stayed together and kept a steady pace as we crossed the vast landscape. Some calves tried to run back but the cowboys encouraged them to stay with the herd and with momma.
The air was cool and calm for almost the entire trail. But toward the end, the wind picked up and it got warm, fast.
Once we got into the final pasture, the guys led them to the windmill for water. They have to be shown where water is because if you just leave them alone, they will drop their heads and start eating. You have to let them know where the water is and leave them there so they get their bearings and know where the essentials are.
By now, the wind was howling, the heat was rising and the dust was blowing. I could barley hold my camera steady.
I put out the lunches on the tailgate and got the guys fed and watered. The horses had some time to graze while we ate but we weren’t quite done yet. There was one cow that just couldn’t make the long trail. She’s an old lady and had trouble keeping up so we left her at that first gate. We made our way back to get the trailer to load her and her calf and chauffeur them to the pasture with the others..
It took a little convincing with a short chase and a rope. They finally got them both loaded and off to the pasture with the others we went. They will enjoy this pasture until it is time to wean the calves in October.
It was a good day without any casualties or injuries. And it was long day that started at 4am and went until at least 4pm. Then back to the ranch to unsaddle the horses and finish up chores until dark.
Phew! So glad it’s Friday.
See more images from this shoot HERE.