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April Snow Showers

by Wyoming Livestock Roundup

It’s April 4, and for what seems like an eternity, we’ve been buried in the snow. Our red and black cows are calving, and we’ve got around seven heifers left to go. 

Being pregnant and having a job aside from the ranch means I’ve been lucky enough to be inside most of the time, but that’s not the case for my husband Lane. I’m surprised he’s not suffering from frostbite at this point. 

From pulling backward calves in arctic temperatures, shoveling snow that feels like concrete and driving up to our big barn at 2 a.m. to check on the old cows, he’s had his frozen hands full.

Lane isn’t unique in this situation – every other rancher in our neck of the woods and across the country has been doing this as well. I feel for them, it’s no fun at all. Even I, the one sitting inside and working on my laptop all day, am just counting down the days until I can go on a sunshine-filled walk outside. 

I won’t lie – it’s not fun, and for a day or two, I wallowed in self-pity, longing to see a sprig of grass. 

I turned to social media to distract me from my borderline seasonal depression and saw a post from a great friend of mine who has more snow than we do.

The post contained a handful of snowy photos, and the caption read something to the effect of “all I see is green grass and full creeks.”

Green grass and full creeks are something we’re always thankful for in southcentral Montana. 

Growing up in northeast Texas, I thought I knew what a “drought” meant, and make no mistake, us Swamp-Texans have seen drought years, but wow – Big Timber, Mont. can be DRY! Drier than I’ve ever seen. 

This difference was a huge shock to me, and when I learned we needed an abundance of snow in the winter to pack the mountains to trickle down in the summer to irrigate hay, I was blown away. 

Readers need to realize I grew up in a place where we measure cows per acre, not acres per cow. 

Although calving in two feet of snow is not ideal, I couldn’t help but agree with my buddy when I thought of the full, flowing creeks awaiting us this summer, the green grass which will fatten up our steers and the amount of hay we’ll be putting up for next winter. This change in outlook painted a smile on my face. 

“Now this is having some positive perspective,” I said when I showed Lane the post, which gave me the attitude adjustment I needed. 

Then, I realized it could be applied to anything and everything.

Cost of living rising? The cattle market might be on the up and up.

There’s a change of command in the White House? It means we may get some new and beneficial laws passed in the next farm bill.

Anti-ag activists protesting agricultural businesses? Use it as an opportunity to speak out for ag and gain some support and attention from new, pro-ag customers. 

I’m sure some readers see the above scenarios and think, “Yeah, but…” or “This is all well and good, but…” 

And, to this I say: Bad things are going to happen, life will not always go the way we want it to, this is just how it goes. People can chose to be negative and feel sorry for themselves or they can chose to be positive and look on the bright side.

In my experience, I’ve found I’m much happier when I keep on the sunny – or in this case, snowy – side of life. 

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