#RanchersRelief

#RanchersRelief and the Atlas Blizzard Rancher Relief Fund.

……………

We were on our way home from Rapid City and Wall last Sunday morning .. and had pulled off quick to put gas in the van and grab the kids a quick bite to eat.

We both heard someone say the Cowboy’s name, approaching us from behind.

It was an old friend from the rodeo circuit and the two spent a few minutes catching up. At some point though, in-between talking about families, jobs, roping and where each had been the past few years, the topic of the loss of livestock West River came up.

“To some extent, these ranchers had warning this was coming. I feel terrible about the loss of life but they had time to get them in. It shouldn’t have been this bad,” this gentleman said.

I was a bit taken back.

There are a lot of opinions being given right now about what could or could not have been done. Regardless of who or what may be at fault for so many deaths, if anyone, the fact exists there is still incredible, unbelievable loss. And that is where we are at. I can’t imagine anyone expected what was coming, especially this early in the year and especially because things never seem quite as bad as they’re forecast for.

Photo Courtesy of www.columbian.com

Photo Courtesy of http://www.columbian.

After working many years in television news, I’ve seen it, I’ve taken the calls from people upset that you’re breaking into their favorite television show (not saying this happened in this situation at all. Just saying, it happens) to tell them about a pending violent storm that often barely ever touches their town with even a few raindrops. For most, the hype that goes into approaching storms rarely ever matches how bad a storm ever is. People get numb to it.

But the forecasters do know, Mother Nature is unpredictable. And when the conditions are just right, sometimes those storms will be what is predicted. And they can only pray you pay attention.

I believe this was one of those storms. And no matter what could have been done before the storm, there is this incredible, devastating aftermath.

I don’t know that I’ll continue to write about this routinely. We don’t live West River. We’re not in the thick of it. I can’t as eloquently put into words what is happening as more storms hit the area, as ranchers wake each day and try to piece their herd, their lives and livelihoods back together. We however know some of these families and communities well. And we’d like to do whatever we can to support them.

Here are just a few other writers/blogs I have come across that seem to be great resources for anyone wanting to stay in touch, know what is happening and do what you can to help. Use the hashtag. Spread the word. Donate. Pray. And if you’re so inclined to read any of the following, grab a kleenex:

thesouthdakotacowgirl.com

A Poem: The Storm Atlas 

Down, Set, Life

Curt Pate Stockmanship

It Takes A Ranch

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The Team

I’m not sure what else I can write that will say anything more than the attached photos do for themselves .. along with a description I posted with one of these on FB the other day:

“No telling the incredible scenes one may come across on South Dakotas backroads but stopped for this one yesterday. Retired farmer who still works with this team of horses from dawn to dusk each day. Also realized, in talking with him a few minutes, my husband shoes his horses. Small world .. and a beautiful one at that. When you can peeps, take the backroads.”

Loren 2 edited

Loren 1

Stuck in my head ..

I have sincerely had this song stuck in my head now for days.

Sit in that six lane backed up traffic
Honks are honking, I’ve about had it
I’m looking for an exit sign
Gotta get out of here, get it all off my mind
And like a memory from your grandpa’s attic
A song comes slippin’ through the radio static
Changing my mood, a little George Strait 1982

And it makes me wanna take a back road
Makes me wanna take the long way home
Put a little gravel in my travel
Unwind, unravel all night long
Makes me wanna grab my honey
Tear down some two-lane country, who knows
Get lost and get right with my soul
Makes me wanna take, makes me wanna
Take a back road. 

– Rodney Atkins, Take a Backroad

I’m thinking the fact this has been just spinning in my head must be a sign.  That, at the very least, I need a vacation.

It’s a few years old now ..

But as I was looking back through photos for something that might go with yesterdays post, I came across this one of my daughter at our friends ranch near Dillon, Montana.

And just want my daughter to know, it will always be one of my favorites of her.  A reminder of a simpler time and place in our lives.  But also just a simple, wonderful place we go as often as we can.  Where the pace is as fast as you want to go.  Where it’s tough to be in cell range.  But you can be as connected as you want to be.  Where neighbors can be found in each other’s  small shops sipping coffee, grabbing a beer .. or with the whole family and a dish to pass at the fairgrounds .. everyone keeping an eye on each others kids, keeping them honest, but allowing room for a lot of fun, where people work hard but say they wouldn’t have it any other way.

I love the city.  Big cities.  Small cities.  I love the culture.  I love the food.  I’m a huge fan of people watching.  I love the hustle and bustle.  The buzz.  The Cowboy, when we first met, worried a bit about the fact I rarely sit still.

‘Sure’, I’ve told him.  ‘I love this – on one level.  There is always somewhere to go, something to do or family and friends to see .. ‘

But there is a lot to be said, for taking a backroad.

And at some point, only God knows when, I’m looking forward to that being more a part of my daily commute.

Calving season ..

Along with truly wanting to take some down time while here on vacation.. we have wanted to get a lot done this week at the Cowboy’s ranch.

My 10 year old has been out each morning ..

Chores in pajamas ..

.. doing what she can to help.  Not necessarily anything that we need or want her to do, but that she wants to do.  And the fact she is out doing anything .. I’m happy with at this point.

She’s actually learned how to do quite a few things so far this week:  Make a fresh pot of coffee.  Go out in the field and get her own horse to ride.  Or goat to rope.  Oil a saddle.  Pull weeds.  Hang laundry on the line.  Take better care to watch after the Cowboy’s twins (not that they need it) and .. today, she added .. give encouragement to a mama cow giving birth.

Offering words of encouragement ..

She took her job so seriously … that when the time came after about 45 minutes of watching, waiting and Neighbor J pulling on the two feet we could see, she almost missed …

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLI_AxJbNYY&context=C4eb3dfeADvjVQa1PpcFNgrE7DfEEyp6rtXAshDJjXHtVvAfksEEk=

A beautiful sight .. (if you don’t mind all the blood and other bodily fluids that come with a newborn calf/large animal.  Heck even a person.  It’s just messy.  But also, a miracle.)  Something I would recommend you be present at at least once in your lifetime, if at all possible.  Just remember to either stay back.  Or apparenty bring plastic wrap and duct tape for yourself (arms, especially) if you want to get up close and personal through the process.

Appreciate the call, Neighbor J.  We all loved it.  Plus, it was a nice break from a ‘hard days work’.  Especially for my daughter.

She was happy though, to get back to the ranch .. because there was still much to do.

At the top of the list .. concerned it was feeling neglected after all the attention and time spent with the horses this week, show the donkey some love.