Tag: winter

Three-Week Winter

I honestly thought we were not going to get winter this year. It happens. When February 2nd rolled around and the ranch still looked like this–

I had a bad feeling that it was not going to be a good water year. And then we had our first winter storm–three days before we were supposed to drive to Nevada for the Ranch Hand Rodeo, where I have a vendor booth. The highway was closed for two days, but when it opened we assumed the worst was over and headed south. While we were gone, the cold snap hit, and it was much colder than anticipated, or we would not have left. My mom texted on our first day at the rodeo to tell me that when they fed the cattle that morning, it was -38 degrees F. Cue really bad feelings.

When we got back to Montana, the first big question was, could we get to the ranch. My folks  spent hours on the tractor to open up a road across a field to give us access. The official driveway was too drifted to tackle.

We made it home and took over feeding. It was still well below zero and we had to suit up.

There was a lot of snow. We’re supposed to give vaccinations soon, but with the condition of the chute, that isn’t going to happen for a while.

We spread straw so that the cows had a comfy place to cozy up together and weather out the temperatures.

My husband and stepdad worked for days to open up the driveway, working against time because once the melt started, the field would turn into a bog and we would have no way out of the place. Finally they broke through and we had an escape route. 

Today’s temperature, 25 days after our first storm? Almost 50 degrees F. The cows, and the feed crew, are very happy.

Four Season Cowboys

I love northern cowboys.

It’s not that I’ve got anything against all those smokin’ hot Southern cowboys, or the rugged, Stetson-wearing men of the Southwest…

It’s snow.

And wind.

And avalanches.

Blizzards.

Calving.

Gathering animals or spreading hay to keep them strong in adverse conditions.

I love this series:

It’s the kind of grit and guts that either draws you in or sends you running!

I was totally drawn into the lives of the Stucky, Hughes and Galt families and their ranches.

 

Animals are survivors by nature. You’ve only got to look out your window at birds and squirrels and ants and rats and mice and snakes to realize that without any human intervention, animals survive.

But in a for-profit operation, it’s crucial for as many to survive as possible. And that’s where the true cowboy comes in. Or the rugged farmer, dedicated to his farm/ranch no matter what part of the country he hails from.

I’ve noticed distinct differences between Eastern and Western ranches. Eastern ranches tend to house cattle overwinter. Western ranches let the animals roam.

Western ranches use SUVs, utility vehicles and horses to gather and monitor their spreads, and their spreads often cover thousands of acres.

Eastern ranches tend to be in the hundreds of acres, marked with hedgerows spawned by being in Eastern woodlands.

The physical differences are notable, but the intrinsic love for their job, their animals, their stock, their families… that’s universal. Success arises from sacrifice, and that’s what we love about a cowboy story. The sacrificial component of their life, their choices, appeal to us!

Which then makes the cowboy the Almost Perfect Hero.

Of course he can’t be perfect.

Perfect is boring and gets old real quick.

But the profile of a cowboy, the hard-working sacrificial nature makes them great romance hero material.

Now here’s the REALITY: They get annoyed. Grumpy. Mad at the weather and forces of nature… Very few stay even-tempered when their livelihood, family, stock, homes are threatened.

But that’s normal. We wouldn’t want a hero to gloss off everything. We want him to buck up and stand strong and get back on the horse and keep on trying. Because that’s what a hero does.

They don’t give up.

Do you have favorite heroes? Who are they?

Name me your favorite hero to be tucked into a drawing for a copy of the second book of my Double S Ranch cowboy series… “Home on the Range”….

He doesn’t have to be a Western hero… any hero will do.

I want to know what appeals to you, like the northern cowboy appeals to me.

I brought coffee… and peach pie. I might be a Yankee… but I make an absolutely amazing peach pie!

 

RUTHY’S WINNER FROM AUGUST 31!!!!!  DEANNE, YOUR NAME CAME OUT OF THE COWBOY HAT FOR A COPY OF “HOME ON THE RANGE”! E-mail Ruthy at loganherne@gmail.com and she’ll get your snail mail! 

Snow Homes

Linda pubpixFall is definitely here in Texas and winter is nipping on its heels. I’ve been busy picking up pecans from the huge tree in my backyard. I have intentions to make some luscious goodies for Thanksgiving and Christmas. My tree has produced a bumper crop this year and made the squirrels very happy. They’re feverishly working to stash enough to get them through the winter.

 

It’s supposed to snow here today but I doubt we’ll get much. It’s too early. Local weathermen have predicted a lot for us this winter though.

 

I’m reminded about the practice up north before school buses when kids had to walk many miles to school. Parents would designate a snow home along the route. It was a safe place where other families would give the child refuge in case the snow made it impossible for them to get home.

 

It was a great practice and showed the deep bond that existed between families in the community. It was kinda like the concept that it takes a village to raise a child.

 

The Snow Home was warm and always welcoming. The family would feed the boy or girl and give them a place to sleep. Come morning, they’d make sure the child got back to school.

snowhouse

 

Ten years when I was adrift and didn’t know where to turn, a very dear friend told me to think of her house as my snow home. No matter what, I’d always be welcome there. I still remember the feeling of gratitude and of having to turn away so she wouldn’t see my tears.

 

I’m sure children who had to take refuge in their snow home felt the same way. Having a place to go saved many from dying in the cold.

 

My heart breaks for the homeless who have nothing or no one. It’s so sad.

 

My wish is for everyone to always have a snow home, either a buffer from the frigid temps or from life.

 

Christmas boot ornamentWhen you sit down to the table on Thanksgiving next week, remember to give thanks for what you have. It might not be exactly what you want but there are a lot of people who’d give anything to be in your shoes.

 

Have you ever heard of the snow home practice? What do you think about it? Should we go back to it? Comment for a chance to win a western boot Christmas ornament!

 

FOREVER HIS TEXAS BRIDE will release on December 1st! I’ll blog about it in a few weeks.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *