Oh Winter I will Miss you!

When most people are looking forward to warm weather, shorts, and grilling. I am counting the days till Fall and winter begin. 

Winter is by far my favorite season. I love the cold weather. I love snow and ice. I love sweaters and warm jackets. But most of all I love cooking in the winter. I mean who doesn’t right.  Soups, stews, and hearty dishes to warm tummies and hearts. There is just something about chopping up vegetables for a great soup that truly touches my soul. I just enjoy it.  We have had another cold snap that came through and I was able to get in one more soup last night. I made ham and potato and let me say it was divine!   Cooking is one of my all time favorite past times. If I could serve people out of my home I swear I would open a restaurant. However I would then have to cook and clean continuously and as much as I love cooking, cleaning is not my favorite. If it is yours, let me know I will give you my address.

The other thing I love about winter is that life on the ranch slows down.  We bring cows home from the mountain in November and life seems to gain a sense of normalcy.  The kids are not involved in anything that requires the constant driving to town, so we are able to relax and enjoy family time. This is also the time that we go on vacations and travel to see family.  Every other year we venture across the country to my family in Tennessee. It is a wonderful car ride and the kids are very good.  They have been making this trip since they were 6 months old and really are great travelers.  If I had to say it, which I will, they are much better than their father about driving without stopping.  

As we round the new year I begin dreading the months to come. It just seems that once it starts it doesn’t stop until November. Here is a sneak at our calendar. It is probably pretty close to what every rancher does but in case you aren’t a rancher here it is.

  • ‘Calving our heifers begins at end of February
  • Cows begin calving toward the end of March.
  • Branding the calves starts in May.  We have three large brandings and then several small ones to catch all the late calvers.
  • In May we spaying the yearling heifers that we are not keeping.
  • Yearling steers need EID tags
  • Heifers get shots and then we begin AI’ing them at the end of May.
  • Bulls need tested to ensure they are in working order ! LOL
    Image
    Trailing heifers up the mountain. Day 2 of three 2013.
  • The last weekend of May we will trail the yearling heifers up the mountain to summer pasture. This takes 3 days and is a fun time for everyone. We are tired but enjoy it, well we enjoy it if the weather is nice.
  • The kids 4-H steers need feed daily from January through fair in July. They must also teach them to lead and be handled.
  • The cow/calf pairs must be trucked up the mountain from the north ranch to summer pasture.
  • Fence must be fixed at all locations. On the mountain the elk bring havoc on the fences. There are times we fix them only to return the next day to wires broke and more work than the day before.
  •  We take archery Antelope and deer hunters around the middle of August. This means that the hunting house must be cleaned, linens washed, and food purchased for the hunters.  It is 2-3 weeks of very early mornings and late nights. But it is so much fun and we meet the nicest people.
  • Kids begin school and fall sports in August.
  • On the mountain cows and heifers are moved to different pastures.
  • Weaning takes place and the calves are brought off the mountain. 
  • We truck or trail the cows home from the mountain depending on weather in October or November.  Last year we trucked them home due to the traffic and construction that our town has begun to see due to the oil boom.  Trailing takes a week to get the cows home.
  • Ultrasounding the cows will be done to ensure pregnancy.

Then it relaxes.  Yes it slows down.  It is fall. It is chilly outside and I am cooking soups and stews. I can’t wait. We are only like 24 weeks away from fall and cool weather, and maybe snow.  I can’t wait. 

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