The big blow |

The big blow

Tales from the ONO Ranch
Mad Jack Hanks
Wellington, Colo.

Well, gentle readers, I reckon the news of late is the big storm we had at Thanksgiving. That big blow covered lots of country and especially hit hard here in northern Colorado.

I’ve seen one storm that was almost as bad as this one many years ago. I didn’t have a tractor then and a kind neighbor came and dug us out. As one might expect, I had some family here that needed to leave about the time the wind was around 60 to 80 miles an hour and I had 3 to 4 foot drifts.

I got my little tractor out and started to dig a path from the house to the road which is only about 65 yards. It took a little over two hours to make it passable. With a ground blizzard going on the windows in the tractor reached a point where the wiper could not keep up. I would have to step out and clean the windshield every so often. It was COLD!

With his wife in his Dodge Power Wagon, my son blasted his way out as if he were in an army tank. They were going to return later after visiting with my daughter’s family. I called him to let him know that the drifts had returned only deeper and it was snowing heavily so stay where they were. They did.

“On the other hand ranchers are blessed to have such an opportunity to ranch in God’s country and reap the benefits and rewards that comes with the effort they have put in.”

I got out the next morning dreading the task ahead of me and some five hours later I had the driveway cleared with a narrow path and had moved other drifts away from in front of my garage and that was purty much it.

I have friends in Wyoming, Wayne and Karen at Hawk Springs and two other families at Elk Mountain. They were frustrated, as well.

Wayne and Karen had been out of electricity for almost a week at their ranch and the Childers’ and the Richardsons’ indicated they might be stuck at the ranch for another few days because of the huge drifts. That’s life on the ranch.

These folks at Elk Mountain are my age and it cannot be easy to face a challenge like that with the “gusto” one would have 20 years ago. My hats off to all you guys in situations like that. I was glad I didn’t have to try and dig my way to the corrals to feed horses this winter.

There will be some folks on skis and boards sailing down off a mountain somewhere with no thought of where that big juicy steak comes from that they are about to devour when the day is done.

Many will have never put in a “day’s work” ever in their life. I mean pure physical hard labor each and every day to make ends meet. On the other hand ranchers are blessed to have such an opportunity to ranch in God’s country and reap the benefits and rewards that comes with the effort they have put in.

It’s not all about money, it’s about a love for that independent way of life and seeing your kids grow up strong and confident and ready to deal with whatever lies ahead. Sometimes I reckon, a BIG BLOW has some benefits that maybe we don’t recognize at the time!.

Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and remember it truly is better to GIVE than to RECEIVE. I’ll c. y’all, all y’all. ❖


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Mad Jack Hanks

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