I have thought for many years, especially here in Colorado along the front range of the Rockies, that December can record some of the coldest temps of the year.
I remember walking a horse out in the pasture at dark trying to get him to poop as he was experiencing a bout with colic. There were about 10 inches of snow on the ground and when I saw “Little Miss Martha” pull in from work, I hollored at her and asked her what temperature her car was recording.
“IT’S 25 DEGREES BELOW ZERO! How much longer will you be?” she asked.
“I THINK WE’RE DONE,” I shouted back. I had managed to get the old pony to have some movement and I was about frozen so we called it quits.
It was December. If I remember correctly last December we had two nights of around 15 below and one of 22 below.
Today is the first day of winter and it was blowing snow and 14 degrees above when I went in for coffee with my buddies. The wind chill had to have been down around zero when I went out to feed a little earlier that morning.
It was that December down in Texas in 1979 that we had that unexpected arctic cold mass that hit overnight. Gentle readers, it ain’t supposed to get down to zero in north Texas in December. Most likely it will be in the high 20s if it gets that cold at all.
Most of the pickups, tractors and water pipes in the company houses were all frozen. That’s not to mention all of the ponds on the ranch and I believe that there were 30 or more.
Cattle fell through the ice and drowned trying to find water. We lost 50-something head of steers those few days under that icy grip.
Cowboys have to be cowboys and we just put on our warmest clothes, saddled up and rode out to doctor and save as many distressed cattle as possible, and we saved a bunch. What a terrible situation to find one’s self in.
To those folks that think ranchers are cruel or without feeling when it comes to the livestock under their care, you just don’t have a clue! You live in another world. You live in a world where the government is encouraged to leave an overgrazed range stocked with way to many wild horses because you think they look good out there. That’s their natural habitat and where they should be.
I bet you never took it on yourself to go out and look at the skeletons covered in snow where they fell from starvation. Ooooooppps, there I go again getting off track.
I will tell you that no rancher wants to see an animal die, unless it’s a predator killing his stock. There are bathtubs all over the west that have had chilled and wet newborn calves in them just to save them from dying.
I know we are just starting winter and we will have many, many days of cold frigid temps with snow and ice and we take it as it comes. As for me, I have spent my last days (I hope) out in the snow trying to pull a calf or bust ice so those ol’ cows can have a drink.
Yep, I take care of my ponies, bust ice when I have to and see that they are taken care of. Actually they are spoiled rotten. That’s what you do when your ponies are the only other folks on the place.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion, pull that “wild rag” up tight around your neck and I will tell ya that old age is really coming at an inconvenient time! I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. ❖
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