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Spring pasture fenced and ready

February got cold and then got colder

Gregory making sure cattle have feed, good bedding and shelter during the February cold snap.

January turned out to be a decent month for a variety of projects. On Jan. 14 the temperature was liveable and the wind was down so we decided it would be a good day to skin an old, crippled cow for our friends Bill and Betty. We were supposed to get to her earlier so that they could give some hamburger away as Christmas presents, but it just never seemed to work out until January.

On Jan. 15 we got back out to our fence and finished the perimeter fence and worked on building the braces for the cross fence. areWe celebrated John’s 73rd birthday on Jan. 16. Everyone had supper at our house with John and Barb and Rose and Barney Simon. Afterward, we played cards and Rose and Barb played with Joseph.

John and Barney built the three wire gates at the pasture Jan. 22, while Gregory and I strung wire for the cross fence. We didn’t quite get it all up, but there are only about 100 feet on the bank and into the lake which we will have to unroll by hand at a later date. The way it is now it is very functional to use as our early spring pasture and won’t take much at all to finish. Hurray!

We got that last bit of fence built just in time because the next day the temperature started dropping and the wind turned miserable. On Jan. 26 we worked in the meat house cutting up the old cow with Bill and Betty’s help.

On the cold, miserable days we fed and bedded the cows and took care of the horses and then Gregory was able to work on projects in or close to the shop.

We went out to feed cows Jan. 31 and found one cow with a set of dead twins. The cows are not due to start until March 10, but something went wrong. The cow had just had the twins when we arrived on the scene. Neither one ever breathed. Our best guess after examining them is that they must have gotten tangled up and detached their umbilical cords and the cow expelled them. She is such a nice cow and it’s always sad to lose the babies.

The beginning of February just kept getting colder and on Feb. 2 it snowed most of the morning and early afternoon and the wind blew it into big drifts. Gregory worked for quite a while with the snowplow just so that we could get around in the yard. By Feb. 5 he had to plow again. It was -31 C without the windchill. After that it just got colder. It was -35 C and below for several days and well below -40 C with the windchill. We seemed to get a bit of a break Feb. 11 — it was -25 C and the sun was nice and warm with no wind. By the next morning it was back to -33 C. Our heifers should start calving around Mar. 1 Hopefully before then the cold spell will break.

About the author


Heather Eppich is a young former Idaho rancher building a new farm and family with her husband and young son, near Handel, Sask. Contact her at: [email protected]



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