It’s been an interesting winter. Early on, we had loads of snow dumped on us, and we celebrated the first White Christmas in about half a decade. Then it melted. Now, it’s coming back with a vengeance. The weather forecast calls for snow for the next three days, and as I look out the window I can see it beginning.

Snow plays a significant part in my life, both as a college student and a country girl.

Snow makes getting around, via foot for vehicle, harder. Getting to class becomes not only inconvenient, but difficult. I don’t want to go there in the first place, then you tack on the trek through the frozen Klondike of Illinois in February…to us students, it seems downright cruel. Then again, we had class in -40-degree wind chills freshman year, so after that it’s easy to surmise that higher education is inherently cruel. (Joking.)

Living far from home also makes trips back there, or anywhere else by car, dangerous. That’s a no-brainer, though.

But, how does snow influence the lives of those living in the middle of nowhere? Consider this: you need to go shopping. The nearest store is 15 miles away. Snow suddenly becomes a lot more prominent than if you only had to go a mile down the road. Many houses in the country are old and isolated, meaning that insulation is poor, heating is expensive, and resources are far away. Snow is especially a game-changer for the farming and ranching communities.

Taking care of a farm becomes a lot more difficult when there’s snow on the ground. Everyday tasks suddenly require extra layers of clothing, gloves, and a brighter disposition. Feeding cattle becomes more than “just feeding cattle” and simple things just become less simple. Snow has to be removed, relocated, or reduced in order to get much of anything done.

Another valuable point to consider: most animals bear their young during the winter. Snow on the ground means that those babies, be it calves or lambs or kids (goats), will be struggling through their first few days in a frigid environment. A snowstorm during the calving or lambing rush could leave a farmer or rancher with major losses.

Snow isn’t just that “pretty white stuff” that comes during the winter. Snow isn’t just the “inconvenience” that makes getting to and from work a little more stressful. Snow is so much more than that.

How does snow influence your operation or day-to-day life? Share your insights.


One thought on “Snow

  1. For as long as I can remember, each winter Dad has plowed a path through our backyard, so that there is a shortened route leading to the driveway that connects all of the barns and entrances to cattle pastures.

    And, of course, there is a shovel or 2×4 placed near each water tank… to break the ice a few times a day.

    Our main barn (housing show animals and the main water source) is divided by a temporary wall in winter, so that the end with show calves remains cool, and the main part with the hydrant is heated by a corn stove.

    Of course, in Michigan, our weather fluctuates between 0 and 40 on a weekly basis during the winter! =)

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