It’s a balmy -13°F outside today, and in addition to a gorgeous white Christmas, we received the frigid cold temperatures that are more typical for this time of year in South Dakota. Today, my husband Tyler is helping some friends take pictures of their bulls for their upcoming sale catalog. Meanwhile, at home, I’m working to thaw frozen waterers and watch for other problems to arise that usually accompany cold weather.
We are just weeks away from calving, but I’m thankful the cows are cooperating and not dropping newborn calves in this weather. However, we’ve got supplies lined up, bedding laid down and the cows that are getting close to their due dates sorted into pens close to the barn.
Today, I’m thankful for the pot roast simmering in the crockpot and the hot coffee in my thermos. It’s days like today where a desk job sounds pretty nice, but despite the freezing temperatures, it’s still a great blessing to be in the cattle business.
With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it can be easy to overlook the things that matter most — our family, friends, land and livestock. In the quiet countryside, we’ve got everything we need and then some.
Yet, despite our many blessings, we aren’t promised a life without struggles. There will be days when the twine string is frozen solid to the side of the bale we’re trying to feed. There will be times when the grass truly does look greener on the other side for the cow herd. There will be moments when we dream of a lakefront property and a pontoon instead of a tractor that won’t start and a sick critter that needs treating.
Even with the challenges that come with ranch life, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world. As we round out 2017, I’m excited for what the New Year will bring. Soon, our breeding decisions will come to fruition, and we’ll get to start another year with new life on the ranch as calves make their way into the world.
So today, I’m not going to complain about my frozen fingers and toes, and I’m bound and determined to keep the waterers open for the cows. I’m going to be grateful we have a heated house, a warm bed, hot food in my belly, a family to share this life with and the knowledge that with hard work and discipline, we can accomplish just about anything in this cattle business.
Stay warm out there, folks, and finish the final days of 2017 on a positive note!
The opinions of Amanda Radke are not necessarily those of beefmagazine.com or Farm Progress.