A TALE OF WOE IN THE SNOW By Brock Moreland, February 24, 2019

Things that come up in the daily operation of a ranch.
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A TALE OF WOE IN THE SNOW By Brock Moreland, February 24, 2019

Post by Soapweed » Sun Feb 24, 2019 5:55 pm

A TALE OF WOE IN THE SNOW

By Brock Moreland, February 24, 2019


Recently I have been a little depressed, as nine months ago I made the really poor decision to kick bulls out with my cattle to calve the last half of February. Frigid temperatures haven’t been conducive for vigorous baby calves, or come to think of it, for my vigor either. I was also unaware at the time of conception that nine months later I would be running through a barrage of viral bugs, which are leaving the deepest parts of my chest and nasal sinuses feeling as congested as my barn space for cows with their newborn calves. Yet in the height of my pity party, a dear friend of mine called to vent about a series of unfortunate circumstances that had recently befallen him, which in turn immediately changed my perspective on life.


To maintain a little dignity for my old buddy I shall leave his name out of this essay. It was with the same gentle persuasion that I use on baby calves on their way out of barn stalls that got him to acquiesce to the publishing of his recent toils in the first place. So, I shall call him Kevin Bentonite. Kevin and I have been very close friends since middle school and have successfully, in our adult lives, kept up with a pact that our families would get together at least once a year for a fun vacation. We have done everything from Deadwood gambling and snowboarding to canoeing down the Niobrara River. Our latest excursion in December was a little hunting trip that he and I enjoyed, along with a few of our other mutual buddies. A good time was had by all, ending with our freezers full of meat. On this trip however, Kevin had commented several times how much he liked my pack boots and how the second he got home a pair would be in-route from Montana, where they are made, to his door. Kevin is a connoisseur of fine footwear, and in pursuit of the perfect fit and style he purchased several pairs with the intent of sending back the boots that wouldn’t “make the cut.” To his pleasure the perfect pair adorned his feet, and now all he needed was the excuse to wear them.


I will add that Kevin and I chose very different career paths. I chose the life of hard knocks running cattle to an almost masochistic level treading the line more towards famine than feast, and he chose to use his mind to solve the world’s problems, or at least, those of the city of Sioux Falls. Kevin is a practicing engineer for a private firm working on civil projects such as water lines for the city. He is used to solving complex mathematical equations, and I am lucky if I can even spell ‘rithmetic. In the last three weeks we have turned the big 30 (I am three days his senior), and with that privilege we have both learned that our bodies don’t flex and contort like they previously did. Kevin started his chain of events by simply getting up from his couch, and an epic story doesn’t accompany the happening. In his case, as he awkwardly rolled off his couch, his back painfully popped out of place.


Like Nebraska this winter, Sioux Falls in South Dakota has seen its fair share of inclement weather. The city is currently suffering from bitter-cold conditions and two feet of fresh snow. The city employs hard working individuals to plow snow off the streets, to alleviate congested roadways and to restore commerce and activity throughout the city. They do not, however, take care of personal driveways, and leave that up to the property owner. Kevin in his new found glory took it upon himself to chip away some ice that had accumulated under the snow pack of his vehicle tires. In a manner that I assume doesn’t resemble in any way Wayne Gretzky scoring a winning goal for the Edmonton Oilers, Kevin took to his task. As he described it, he was hunched over to avoid positions that pained his back, and inadvertently stuck his steel spud bar through the toe of one of his brand new pack boots. Kevin is Guinness stout with an Irish temper to match. As I can imagine in my head, he quietly murmured a few “unpleasantries,” laid his bar silently on the pavement, and walked inside his house to his basement, where he keeps a punching bag, to take out his new found frustrations. With a roundhouse blow from his dominant right fist, he gave the bag the punishment it hadn’t deserved, and it quickly informed him of that fact. With a growl he yelled up the stairs to his usually loving wife, informing her that he thought he may have just broken his hand. As a registered nurse (who has professionally stitched up a few of my dumber ideas in the past), she assessed the situation and took him to the hospital. While there he learned that his hand was quite significantly fractured, and that it would require immediate surgery. The procedure was accomplished by one of South Dakota’s finest hand surgeon specialists. With two plates and four screws later, it was determined that some of his carpals weren’t far from needing replaced with artificial bones.


As we reminisced his last 24 hours, I reassured him that at least he would be cleared to type in a few days, and that he wasn’t calving with his malady. He agreed and determined that maybe he could have HANDled the situation differently. We all live and learn, and it is important to remember to keep our temper under control. After all, a temper is the one thing you can’t get rid of when you lose it!

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Re: A TALE OF WOE IN THE SNOW By Brock Moreland, February 24, 2019

Post by Big Muddy rancher » Sun Feb 24, 2019 7:35 pm

Thanks for giving us something to laugh about.
Were not calving in this but we have so much snow we had to bring cows out of the hills with a Bombi and a few snowmobiles. Now fighting hard drifts to get them all fed.
It's nice to see we aren't alone in our struggles. lol
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Re: A TALE OF WOE IN THE SNOW By Brock Moreland, February 24, 2019

Post by Traveler » Mon Feb 25, 2019 8:12 am

I hope not too many ears are freezing on those new calves. They're pretty valuable to order buyers.

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Re: A TALE OF WOE IN THE SNOW By Brock Moreland, February 24, 2019

Post by Traveler » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:02 am

The weather map looks like cows may be able to calve out on Thursday in NN. Otherwise, doesn't look good. Hang in there.

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Re: A TALE OF WOE IN THE SNOW By Brock Moreland, February 24, 2019

Post by Faster horses » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:31 pm

NN? Where and what is that?
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Re: A TALE OF WOE IN THE SNOW By Brock Moreland, February 24, 2019

Post by Big Muddy rancher » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:37 pm

I would say Northern Nebraska
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Re: A TALE OF WOE IN THE SNOW By Brock Moreland, February 24, 2019

Post by mrj » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:15 am

Isn't NN just below SD?

Maybe not now, since a lot of SD is trying very hard to move east! So far, it is just our snow moving. Surely it will all blow away and the frozen top soil will follow closely behind at the force this wind has!

It may look like a beautiful, sunny day, with a few inches of snow, but the gale-force winds take all the fun out of being out doors today! With temperature at 0 this morning, the wind-chill effect is awful, even dangerous. Quite a few schools either started two hours late, or closed altogether, which seems a wise choice, dangerous as getting stranded on bad roads would be!

And, yes, we do have a few cows calving, tho they are not supposed to be! At least one is in the barn and doing well.

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Re: A TALE OF WOE IN THE SNOW By Brock Moreland, February 24, 2019

Post by mrj » Mon Mar 04, 2019 11:22 am

Brock, I surely do sympathize with your friend. A self-inflicted wound seems so much more painful than when it happens when working, for instance. And hands or feet seem so prone to arthritis later in life and old injuries seem to make that malady even more likely. And, yes, there is a touch of 'been there, done that' in that statement at my 'older and wiser' stage of life. Hope he heals quickly and well!

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