After a day of blowing snow and wind yesterday, we woke up this morning to six inches or so of fresh powder on the ground - and the ranch is beautiful! The storm is a thing of the past and today was one of those "Chamber of Commerce" days.
We spent most of the day outside feeding the animals, taking pictures and enjoying the views. It has been a very mild winter so far, with over three weeks of dry weather in December which is really unheard of around here, so it is about time for us to receive snow.
Whatever the weather the cattle have to eat and this time of year that means feeding hay.
Rick loads the bucket of the tractor with hay and drives it out to the field for the bovines. We have a feeding station with a covered trough which protects both the hay and the animals eating from the weather. We fill the trough with hay so the cattle can eat when they want to.
The digestive system of ruminants acts as sort of their own internal heater, so if you keep them fed you help keep them warm. We also have sheds so the cattle have shelter from the weather. The ranch averages 96 inches - yes, that is 8 feet - of rain a year in addition to the snow. With that much weather to deal with the animals need a dry place to go.
The cattle seemed to enjoy the snow and sunshine as much as the humans. They kicked up their heels and played chase through the fields. The most entertaining thing I saw all day was the herd of weaned heifers chasing Grizzly our cattle dog out of the pasture. He dived under the fence with the heifers hot on his heels. Of course he turned around and barked at them when he was safely on the other side of the fence; he is very brave.
It was a wonderful sunny day with the mountains surrounding us covered in fresh snow and the peaks glistening in the sun. All the creatures on the ranch enjoyed it, especially the humans. The weatherman is predicting snow off and on for the next few days so it will be interesting to see how much we actually get. A couple of years ago we had over five feet of snow on the ground. I must say I'm not really in favor of quite that much snow, but we will see. We do have snowshoes, but I hope we don't have to use them.