Old Man Winter has threatened to rear its ugly head again. Forecasts are calling for 3-6″ of snow and some ice and sleet accumulations for our farm and most of eastern Kansas. For most people that means a trip to the grocery store to restock on bread, milk and other food essential. And maybe a few extra Netflix downloads to ensure there is plenty to occupy the time.
But for farmers, the preparation for a winter storm is much more intense and time-consuming. Farmers watch the weather forecasts religiously and as soon as a weather event is mentioned, planning begins. With more than 500 mother cows, calves and soon-to-be mother cows on our farm this winter, we have a lot of mouths to feed and hides to keep warm.
Between now and sundown tonight, my husband, his father and our two hired men will deliver water and feed, creating bedding areas, raise windbreaks and check fences to make sure the cows are prepared for the storm. As snow begins to fall, someone will check on the cows about every 2 hours. We’re crossing our fingers for an uneventful evening but it never seems to happen that way. The storm rolls in and the calves, inevitably, begin to drop.
That means tomorrow the guys will stay busy tagging new calves, making new delivery rounds of feed and water and doing their best to keep themselves and the cattle warm in sub-zero wind chills. It’s no easy job but farmers and ranchers doit – all day, every day, 365 days a year.
Meanwhile me and the baby will stay hunkered down inside. Someone has to bake the cookies!