September 18, 2013



It was late September. Maybe early October. We’d had some late showers and it kind of fooled that grass into thinking it was spring. There was a little green stuff under the sun ripened grasses left over from a summer of grazing. But the days were getting shorter. And you could see there was moisture in those dark clouds sneaking up over the hills west of the yard.
Forecast said a chance of snow showers. Now, if you’ve lived around here long enough, you know what a snow shower could be. It might be a few icy flakes that sting your cheek as you look away from the wind. Or it might be a couple of feet of white stuff that is going to be there until April.
Shirley sent me out to kick the cows off the flat. Me and Paul and Lonesome. As we started those cows into the breaks and watched them string out down the trail, I felt a couple of flakes hit my cheek and rode up on the ridge to look west. You could see the heavy snow headed down the creek and you kind of turned your collar up and realized that winter was here.
Paul was riding Sham and I was on Zip. We put them in a long trot for home and started wondering where we had put our overshoes last spring. As we rode into the yard we started glancing around, trying to remember where everything was lying so we could dig it from under the snow in the morning. Like usual, we weren’t ready for winter. Happens every year.
Just got done hauling hay in and now we have to start hauling it out. Guess the Indians were right when they say life is a circle.
Oh, some winters are good. You might have decent weather, a January thaw, an early spring. Cows come through in better shape than they started. Gets dark early enough you can make it into town for a pinochle game or a ball game.
Or you might have a winter where that first snow gets covered by a new one the next week. And that one gets covered by a new blanket a few days later. And the winds blow from the north for two days. And then switches to the southeast for a few days. And then the northeast. And then it snows again and everything is plugged up. Roads, ditches, trails. Everything is socked in tight.
And it might be twenty above in the daytime and zero at night. Or you might go forty or fifty days without ever seeing zero. And it’s thirty below at night. And the snow cracks under your feet as you walk to the barn in the morning. You’re buying ether by the case and wearing two pairs of socks and had your long handles on for weeks. And some old fool will tell you it was a lot worse than this in the old days. And it probably was. Who am I to say?
Or someone will say “this is just the way 64-5 started out.” I hate it when that happens.
To be continued next week….