Our prayers were answered, and April has brought us showers, sort of. A week and a half of blizzards, wind and freezing weather has brought us blessed moisture, but at a terrible cost. We know–really we do–that a foot of wet snow will bring us green grass in a few weeks. We had begun to despair of much-needed moisture, and were trying to figure out how to get through the summer with dry conditions and no feed left over from last year.
While these storms have brought us up to above 100 per cent on our snowpack, they came while many of our neighbors were calving on the open range. We are calving some of our cows and heifers, and shed lambing our purebred sheep, Hampshire and Rambouillet, which we raise our own bucks from. The winds were so high, and variable that it crept in every crack in the lambing sheds. The oldest shed has a lot of cracks, which we usually figure are good for air circulation (less respiratory ills). This time, for the first time I can remember, lambs actually died from the weather, in the shed.
On the Red Desert we were getting ready to trail out, but the high winds caused the sheep to blow out, and mix with a neighboring herd. It took a few days to gather them up and sort them out, but they were finally able to “hit the trail” for the lambing ground.
We also lost several calves to the severe weather, but again, we had shelter nearby and I know that our losses were not nearly as bad as some of our neighbors who range calve. Several of them said that they won’t know their losses until they gather the cows for branding.
The storms have done us more good than harm, because no moisture means no summer feed. Some nice warm rains would be nice.