From Pipi’s Pasture: Pipi’s Pasture buried in snow
After last week’s snowfalls and wind, Pipi’s Pasture is buried in drifted snow. It has taken a lot of shoveling and plowing to get around again — plenty of work and time. Consequently, I did a lot of phone work from home this past week, and I even missed a deadline for this column. (Thanks for being understanding, Jim.)
The morning after that first windy storm, I found myself knee-deep in crusted snow when I was on the way to the corral to do chores. It was difficult to break through the hard-to-break snow while carrying a bucket of grain in one hand and my broom in the other. (Silly me! I didn’t realize how crusted the snow was. I can usually use a broom to sweep myself a crude path through drifted snow.)
I have to make two or three daily trips to the corral this winter. As I made a path through the snow, I could see the animals watching me from their pens. On one side of the corral are a bull and our granddaughter Megan’s old 4-H cow. Two old cows and Turbo, a small black steer, reside on the other side.
Finally at the corral and already dreading the trip back, I found a hill — where there has never been a hill before — leading downhill to the corral gate. The bottom metal bar of the gate was buried under snow.
After sweeping the snow away from the big bales, I was able to fork off enough hay to feed both pens of cattle. I couldn’t find the grain pans, so the old cows and calf got their morning rations on top of their hay.
The biggest challenge was getting into the old cows’ corral to break ice on the stock tanks since they don’t have heat. I dug at the snow with the pitchfork. I pried at the bottom bar of the gate. I knew if I could open the gate enough to just squeeze through, I could hook the chain and leave it that way. It would be unlikely that the calf could push through. But I couldn’t get the gate open.
So, I broke a path around through the “loading dock” to another gate, but I couldn’t get that one open, either. I only fell down once during all this path-making.
Lucky for me, Lyle came to rescue me. He was able to open the main gate a little bit, just like I wanted. I went into the corral, which really wasn’t drifted that much, and broke the ice, throwing the chunks onto a big pile of ice. I was helped in my work by Turbo, the calf, who likes to lick at the fake fur fibers that stick out from my furry-lined hat. (The fibers are of several brownish colors, so I guess he thinks I’m related to cows.)
Then, it was back to the house, but I had to repeat the trip one more time that day to feed everything again and fill water tanks.
Thanks to a thoughtful neighbor, who plowed the lane into our house and helped Lyle clean snow from around the buildings, and to a family friend, who blew snow to make me a path wide enough to pack two buckets. We can get around pretty well now, but it took several days.
A positive to the storm — just think how the moisture will help out the drought situation. Things are looking bright for irrigation water, pasture grass, pond water, gardens, and more.