angle-left Ranching Blog: Snow, Snow, Snow!

Ranching Blog: Snow, Snow, Snow!

It may be cold, it may be snowy, but it's for sure still beautiful.

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The 2019 winter in South Dakota started as a meek, and mild child, but turned into a full-on rebellious teenager. February was unseasonably cold – the average temperature this time of year should be about 30F, but instead it's been about -5F. As we quickly approach the anniversary, this year is reminding me of it – in fact, as I write this it is currently -6F outside.

Okay, maybe it hasn't been that cold as an average this year, but it has sure felt like it. 

The first week of February last year dumped about 24 inches of snow. The following 10-day-forecast was pretty dismal too -- not a day over 20 degrees F. In fact, we even had a few days of double-digit negative temperatures. 

You know it's been cold when on a sunny, 7-degree day you decide it’s gorgeous enough to ride your horse outside in 15 inches of fresh snow, while wearing only a long sleeved shirt, a zip up wool cardigan with a vest, jeans and chinks – and you're not even remotely cold! Most of the recent days it’s been too cold to attempt even catching a ride in the barn. The big, green roof on this building, is known to keep it warm(ish) inside, but when there’s no sun for a week or two on end the green roof isn’t good for much but catching snow! 

The horses are ready for sunshine, the cows are ready for sunshine and the hay pile is really ready for some sunshine plus warmer temperatures!  Bitter cold isn’t just found in the air -- every rancher is tired of plowing snow to get to their cow herds fed (or get to town), and the cowgirls in my Facebook Feed, trying to leg their horses up for a summer of barrel racing, would just like to see a double digit temperature that begins with a two instead of a one! The sky has been mostly white for a week, and because it’s so cold every bit of moisture is being squeezed out of the clouds. Mother Nature, if you could turn the sky blue, the wind down, and the sun on, that would be much appreciated by many. 

Personally, I don’t mind winter. It’s a chance for the earth to get her rest. What I don’t like about it that it’s hard on the animals, the equipment and the people. I think everything and everyone is going a little stir crazy! 

While I’m sure we’d all like to see blue skies and warmer temps, the photographic fodder that’s been available to me is incredible. The gorgeousness that is our current Winter Wonderland has been worth it as far as photography goes. 

I was on hands and knees in, on a windy, cold, snowy day creating these images. Were they worth it? One thousand percent yes! Drop me a line if you agree! 

Until next time, Happy Trails! 

Jenn Zeller is an aspiring horseman, photographer, freelance writer, barrel racer and collector of horses and chickens. She resides in South Dakota on the DX Ranch, a third-generation cattle ranch where the family raises Angus and Brangus cows, as well as Quarter Horses. Contact her at jennifer@thesouthdakotacowgirl.com.