After the Blizzard

Tuesday afternoon The Rancher and I headed to check more cattle.  These cattle are in pastures with big canyons.  We took a 4-wheeler ride checking the canyons and found our cattle were home and fine.  We were pleasantly surprised to see them look as good as they did.  We think if we lost any livestock it is minimal.  Our pairs were spread out grazing the bared off hill tops.

The snow continues to melt, the dams are full and there is water running everywhere.

October 10

Wednesday night we got our power back on!  Face Book updates from our local Electric Cooperative reported that 3,100 poles down in our county.  They are down to less than 1,000 members without power and more crews are coming to assist today.  Earlier this week the coop brought in help and have nearly 100 crew members.  We appreciate all the hard work the Electric Cooperative Employees and linemen are doing to restore our area with electricity

The death loss in western  South Dakota is massive; cattle, sheep and horses. We have heard a lot of cow death.  The cows do not have their winter hair coat and were severely stressed from  hypothermia due to rain, cold and snow.  Cattle drifted in the storm, some turned around and tried to get home.  They ran out of energy and collapsed.  Due to the adequate fall rains our grass is green.  People are speculating that some cattle are dying of grass tetany.

Many hearts are breaking as it is hard when a rancher looses livestock.  Our life’s work is caring for, feeding and protecting our animals.  One natural disaster can wipe out a lifetime of the blood, sweat and tears we have put into our business.  When cattle die the genetics we have worked hard to achieve are lost too.  In some cases 3 generations of genetics vanish; cow, calf at her side, and the pregnancy she is bred with.

The below pictures were taken on Monday and Tuesday when J and I went to check cattle.

October 10

Major storms cause a lot of extra work for ranchers.  In addition to caring for livestock, there will be quite a bit of fence to mend and rebuild.  Frozen waterers will need fixed, equipment maintenance increases with snow removal and general issues caused by extended power outages and flooding.  There was also a great deal of damage done to trees that will need attention.

This storm is also affecting farmers.  Winter wheat planting is winding down, but not complete.  There are producers that have corn to chop or combine and sunflower harvest has not started yet.  It will be a while before fields are dry enough to harvest.  In addition, the countryside is dotted with a lot of round hay bales that have not been hauled home.

Our next challenge is coming as another weather system moving in tonight.  The Weatherman is telling there will be significant rain fall (1-2 inches) and sustained winds of 30-45 mph with gusts over 60 mph.  Monday or Tuesday they are warning us about another storm front headed to this area; a cold mix of moisture.

October 10

1. Dam in our Bull Pasture.

2. Looking North down our driveway.

3. Trees in our yard east of the house and looking south.

4. Dam front where the home bunch of pairs weathered out the storm.

5. Waves in the snow due to 60 mph winds.

6. Gates going into our cattle sorting pens.

Thank You for your continued thoughts, prayers and support.

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15 Responses to After the Blizzard

  1. I am so glad your livestock are all okay. They are so gorgeous. I am looking forward to your recipes, etc.

  2. Buttons says:

    Oh Robyn I am so happy your cattle are OK and so sad about the farmers who have not so fortunate It breaks my heart as I understand the stresses farmers go through when the unexpected happens. I hope your weather is not as predicted and the farmers get their crops off. It is very hard to lose our animals . hug B

    • Robyn says:

      Thank You, Miss B.

      It has been an interesting week. I don’t know how many times I have heard J tell our story and listen to neighbors and friends tell theirs. This weather disaster will be told for generations.

      The Rancher and I moved cattle again today to prepare for the rain and wind.

  3. Bonnie says:

    I am so glad you did not suffer as many have. One of my relatives went to Eagle Butte from Spearfish and counted 212 dead cows. Growing up I went through a few blizzards and there is nothing more depressing then working through a blizzard only to find that you couldn’t save them all. Take care and I hope this is not the beginning of a long winter.

  4. Sandra says:

    I feel so badly for everyone who is dealing with losses. You don’t hear much about it in the news. I have just seen blog post and some facebook post.
    Very sad!

    • Robyn says:

      There has not been a lot of national attention reporting on this blizzard. It’s all over the local news and we are still in the heart of dealing with the after affects.

  5. Kim says:

    We have a prayer time during our choir rehearsal every week, and I want you to know that we prayed for South Dakota ranchers. Those prayers continue as you and others prepare for the next storm and try to rebuild from the blizzard. May God’s strength, comfort and peace surround you all.

  6. Deb Haka says:

    been thinking of you and hoping all is well. Gut wrenching time to go through….bless everyone who are grieving through this tough time!

  7. J. Rhoades says:

    So glad you guys are doing ok even when others are not. I’ll be keeping you guys in my thoughts as your next storm moves in, hoping for the best!

  8. Linda W says:

    I’m glad to hear your livestock loss was minimal. I’ve been getting reports from my friends and family in SD about the massive loss of livestock and storm damage. My parents only had some downed trees in their yard and one day without power. They consider themselves lucky.

  9. I am so thankful that you’ve come through fairly unscathed, but at the same time I’m so sorry for those who’ve lost so much…

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