It was a bit unexpected, but we had our first significant snowfall of the season a couple of days before Thanksgiving. We were expecting more rain so it was a surprise to wake up to six inches of fresh powder on the ground. I don't really understand why, but it seems to me that a fresh dusting of snow makes everything look nicer. Even utility items like stock trailers - which are not really very photogenic at all - look good in snow.
In my own humble opinion our area is beautiful anytime of the year, but snow makes everything even more lovely. So I grabbed my camera and wandered around the ranch taking these pictures for all of you to enjoy. While I was taking pictures, Rick was feeding cattle. The snow is truly beautiful, but it does make taking care of our grass fed beef cattle more of a challenge.
We've made huge improvements to our winter facilities this year and we have a covered hay feeding station under construction, but it is not quite finished yet. We didn't expect snow quite so soon, usually we don't get snow until the second week of December give or take a bit. So, for this first snow the feeder wasn't done yet, but the cattle really don't seem to mind.
Rick loads the hay for the two pastures into the bucket of the tractor and drives it down to the bovines. We have the cattle sorted; the steers and bull are in the upper pasture and the heifers are in the new lower pasture. We have all the heifers, both the bred ones and the newly -weaned heifer calves we just brought home from Montana in the lower pasture. While the girls wait patiently for the hay to arrive, the boys bellow and snort and stomp and generally show their impatience. I guess gender behavior like that is true in any species?
Nothing much happens around here without our two dogs, Molly and Grizzly, being involved and feeding hay is no exception. Molly is the black female on the left. She is 3/4 heeler and 1/4 black lab. Grizzly is the full blooded heeler male on the right. They are the perfect ranch dogs for us because they are good with the animals, affectionate and they stay put. They are here on our ranch all the time, and if one of us walks out the front door they stay right with either of us. I've seen those kinds of dogs that take off at the first opportunity and their people spend a lot of time calling and chasing them - those are not the dogs for us. These two pooches stick like glue; if I am not sure where Rick is working I just look for the dogs because they will be with him.
Feeding hay in the snow doesn't seem to phase the dogs at all, or the cattle either for that matter. The cattle have their own internal warming system and keeping them fed and watered also keeps them warm. Of course even in the snow our temperatures are really pretty mild. We get our breeding stock from Muddy Creek Ranch in Montana and those folks have some very cold weather. One of our bred heifers, Mildred, is missing part of her ear and tail. Mildred was born at Muddy Creek during a cold spell where the temperature was 35 degrees below zero. She literally froze to the ground at birth and when the lifted her up parts of her ear and tail stayed stuck to the ground. Now that is cold! I'm so glad we don't have those kind of temperatures here - I am way too big a sissy for that.
We had our first snow, the cattle got fed and I took a few pictures of winter life around the ranch for you to enjoy.