Franching Through the Snow

In central Texas where Matt and I grew up, there might be one snow a year that covers the grass. School is canceled and kids tie random outdoor equipment to the back of pickups to sled around on the ice/snow mix. People there don’t know about LL Bean, but everyone has a Carhartt jacket and coveralls, or maybe ski bibs if they’re really sophisticated. When we were little, my dad used to wrap our feet in Saran wrap to keep them warm in our tennis shoes before we went to play in the snow. This really works – your feet will be burning hot and soaking in sweat when you come in from scraping all the snow out of the yard to build one tiny snowman and make a bowl of ice cream.

Now that we live in the Panhandle (fine, northeastern New Mexico), we get a few good snows each winter and love it. When Matt was coaching and I was teaching, we enjoyed the days off at our nice suburban house in Canyon, with the occasional venture out to the liquor store just for kicks. Things have changed.

You may have heard that farmers and ranchers don’t get a day off. Cattle need to eat and drink, they say. We’ve been blessed with several inches of the white stuff lately (and it’s wet snow – so nice to have moisture!), and here are a few glimpses into a morning with Matt on a snow day. He basically sleeps in, drinks hot cocoa, and watches ESPN; very relaxing.

matt opening gateSleeping in.  Not.

snow covered hayPutting out hay for cows, since the snow covers the wheat they’re grazing. And also I feel like they need extra nourishment for enduring the cold.

chopping ice for cattle Chopping ice for cattle, an everyday job when the temps are sub-freezing.  Doesn’t seem lonely at all.

helper TCowboy T is available for helping check on calves, barring any conflict with his daily episode of Dino Dan.

mini Matt helpingMatt and his mini, working-man style.

corn stalks in snowCorn stalks left over from our crop that we run cattle on. I know you’re impressed with my iPhone photography, just say it.

Chance and Texie in the snowChance has suddenly become super furry.  He and Texie keep the coyotes at bay.  Literally.  All night long.

sleddingLayne and Trevor being pulled by Matt…a 4-wheeler and the top of a storage container = ranch kid heaven.

neighbors playing on snow dayThe neighbors came over with their own homemade sled – the bucket of a wheelbarrow.  These kids had the time of their lives while I took pics from the bathroom window.

So the best thing about the snow here is that it goes away in a few days, unlike these cities I hear of where people walk through ugly gray snow for months.  We enjoy it while it lasts and then spend three days afterward mopping the mudroom.  Here’s to much more in 2015 –  the winter is young!

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