Cold throws a wrench in activities 

Cattle graze on a north central Colorado prairie, about 30 miles south of Cheyenne, Wyoming, under puffy cloud cover. Farming and ranching during this period of climate change presents a number of challenges, but a group of agricultural experts have provided tips to overcome the times. (Photo courtesy of David Augustine, Agricultural Research Service.)

Cold, cold, cold. Tanks are frozen and so am I. 

All the cattle sales are shut down for the first three days of the week and with most from Thursday (Jan. 18) on will be open. Probably up north they would be having cattle sales with these temperatures we are having, or they would be shut down all winter. 

It’s a good thing we raised a lot of hay this past year. I do not know how a baby calf can be born in this weather and any survive with a mother licking them off and getting one cup of milk. 

Some didn’t survive but a lot do. Some have frozen ears and sometimes frozen feet. I was telling a boy and his dad from eastern Oklahoma that if he sees frozen ears to look at the feet first. The boy asked why. I said, normally the ears freeze first then sometimes the feet. Frozen ears won’t bother the calf from gaining well but frozen feet often will. 

"Just A Scoopful" - Jerry Nine
“Just A Scoopful” – Jerry Nine

His dad spoke up and said, “Where we live in eastern Oklahoma it doesn’t get that cold to where we have to worry about that.” Interesting enough to me that is only 250 to 300 miles to the east. 

When I was about 30 years old—and, yes, I hated winter just as much then as I do now—I told my dad one day when it was snowing so much we could hardly see that I was going to buy a ranch down in Texas and move my cattle down there in the winter and back up here in the summer. 

He said, “You will have just as many problems down here as we do there.” And I said, “I don’t care at least I will be warm.” But spring came and I’m still here. 

A friend of mine said he and his wife both have a different opinion on what the temperature should be in their house. He said she complains if it is ever above 70 degrees. So he moves it to 74 and she lowers it and complains. Finally he told her, “Since we have been married 40 years if it it’s too hot just take your clothes off and after 40 years it won’t bother either one of us.” 

A friend of mine and myself both tease each other a lot. In fact a lot of my teasing seems to have a sarcastic tone. I rarely put lotion on my hands—that is until they are cracked and hurt. But this morning I did as they looked rough. So I went into the restaurant at the sale barn. I noticed he was sitting with his buddies and of course that makes it all the better. 

I said, “David, I just put lotion on my hands and I started to bring you some but then I noticed it said ‘Working Hands’ so I didn’t.” 

Editor’s note: The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not represent the view of High Plains Journal. Jerry Nine, Woodward, Oklahoma, is a lifetime cattleman who grew up on his family’s ranch near Slapout, Oklahoma