From Pipi’s Pasture: The worst blizzard in 19 years |

From Pipi’s Pasture: The worst blizzard in 19 years

Diane Prather/For Craig Press

County residents are still talking about the recent blizzard so there’s not a lot left to tell. However, we’re still dealing with the storm’s aftermath so that’s what is on my mind this week. We’ve experienced plenty of blizzards in the approximately nineteen years that we’ve lived here at Pipi’s Pasture, but this one is the worst we can remember.

The evening of the blizzard, after it had blown all day, Lyle and I headed for the shop to feed two bottle calves. We had to climb over deep, deep drifts around the front porch, and then we found snow drifted to about two feet. It was crusted so making a path wasn’t easy. Lyle went ahead of me, but my short legs just couldn’t follow his long-legged gait. We made it, though, and came back to the house. I did fall down in the snow about halfway to the house which required some tricky maneuvering to get upright again.

It is my usual habit to go to the corral to fill stock tanks each afternoon, but this time (the first time ever) I knew that I couldn’t make it through the drifted snow. The corral cattle had been fed and watered that morning so I decided that the safest thing to do was stay at the house until morning.

The next morning, Lyle warmed up the tractor and made a tractor-tire path to the shop and another to the corral, remarkable considering that one of the big gates to the hay yard/corral wasn’t drifted shut and he was able to gain entry to the corral area.

So after feeding the calves, I took my bucket of grain and a shovel and followed the tire path to feed the cattle at the corral. I found that the snow had drifted up against the corral fence so that I had to walk on the crusted snow to put out hay. Luckily, I had left the gate leading into the smaller part of the corral open a little bit after the first big snowstorm of the season. That way I could squeeze into the corral without opening the gate, but the cows couldn’t push themselves out. With a little shoveling, I was able to get into the corral. However, finding the water tanks was a little more difficult since they were under drifted snow. I uncovered one tank and planned to find another one elsewhere that day.

The two animals in the larger corral share a stock tank with feedlot cattle. The snow had drifted off the ground around the water hydrant, and the cattle had not consumed the water in the tank during the blizzard. Everything was in good shape there.

I had to do lots of shoveling to make paths along the corral fence, places where there had not been paths before. The paths are on top of buckets, feed pans, mineral tubs, and a lot of other stuff that I’ve forgotten about.

While I was busy shoveling snow and finishing chores, Lyle plowed a path through a gate so that we could feed cows in the feedlot. A thoughtful neighbor drove his tractor over and helped Lyle plow the driveway, the lane into the house, and the area around the haystack. He even helped Lyle feed the cows while I worked away at the corral.

Our sons and families called to check on us; they heard about the blizzard and told us about all of the closed roads. We were fine. We got plowed out, we had food, the house was warm, the animals got fed and watered, and the baby calves in the feedlot survived the blizzard — even those born the day before the blizzard. I was able to work by phone.

And at this writing, it is the first day of spring, and a robin is sitting in the crabapple tree that’s next to the dining room window.

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