Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska
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Alliance for the Future of Agriculture in Nebraska

Valentine’s Weekend on the Ranch

February 13, 2012Animal Well-Being, Beef, Farmers and Ranchers

Some may think that there is little to no romance for ranch couples. Sadly, for some couples, that could be the case. In our case, there is plenty of romance, it just isn’t in the form of big bouquets of roses or dates at fancy restaurants or even lavish gifts of jewelry.

With Valentine’s Day on a Tuesday, and kids in high school, it’s certainly easier to celebrate during the weekend closest to the holiday. Our celebration started with doing chores on Saturday morning with an air temp of -8 degrees F. I’m certain the wind chill was significantly colder! All was going well until we checked the electric waterer for the bulls – yep, frozen solid!

We worked and worked and worked to get it thawed – taking breaks to sit in the pickup for a few minutes to get feeling back in our fingers and toes. Finally, we had to give up and wait for a warmer day to get it fixed. We are watering in a tank for now. Where is the romance in that, you ask?  It was beside the waterer with fun comments about how lovely I look in winter attire;  it was in the pickup, shivering together to get warmed up, and it was standing at the fence, looking at the bulls & admiring the way they are turning out after we had given them more straw for bedding. The ground is so cold and hard, we had to give them some insulation and comfort.  Giving more time to the animals than to ourselves….Aaahhh – wedded bliss!

The afternoon was a bit more pleasant (temperature-wise), with some indoor bookwork to be done, kitchen to clean, a little TV time, and evening chores. We did have a “date” scheduled, which was our annual Cattlemen’s Banquet. Good friends, amazing prime rib, and some great entertainment…couldn’t ask for more!

Sunday morning brought us right back to reality. We had chores done at home and headed to our farm about an hour away where most of the herd is kept. The frozen ground provided ample opportunity to haul cows from stalks into the calving pasture. Oh, how I love that bitterly cold wind in my face as I ride the ATV scanning the pasture for any stragglers – NOT! However – romance was alive and well! When it’s just Matt and I driving that far, we hold hands and visit the whole way without kids making fun of us and dominating our conversation topics. We even got to listen to a couple of church services on the radio since we had to miss our own service.

In the stalk field where we were loading cows I warmed my super cold lips a few times with Matt’s nice warm lips – I seriously must just have really bad circulation, I do not handle the cold well at all!
This was my cow-hauling rig for the day; three trips I got to make in the comfort of the warm cab! And, I absolutely know the cows preferred being hauled that 8 miles rather than walking on the frozen, rutted-up (is that a word? Not sure, but regardless, they are!) roads. We like to be as careful as possible with them right now, as they are all due to calve in just a few weeks.

Once we were done, heifers were sorted from cows, everyone was in the correct pasture, pen, or lot, and chores were done, we got to enjoy another hour together driving back home. Ranch romance is the best – you get to spend the day with your best friend, making work and cattle care the most fun ever and hopefully, earning a living at the same time.  I will take an hour of driving time with my husband over a bouquet of roses any day! Happy Valentine’s Day!