A Youthful Voice...The Advocate Youth Page Schyler Angell

Associate Editor,
Advocate Youth Page

With up to 20 inches of snow in some places, January sure was a memorable month. Millions of people were affected by Winter Storm Gia as it dropped snow on western states all the way to the East Coast.
Where I live, we had between a foot and 15 inches of snow accumulation. That is a loooot of snow; I had never seen anything like it! With all that snow coming in, I had an unexpected four and a half day break from school because of the weekend and snow days! For me, that meant more time on the farm with my family taking care of cattle.
Every cattle producer knows that taking care of cattle in snow, especially a foot of snow, can be challenging. Some aspects of winter can be a down right pain, but on the other hand, some things are fun and humorous.
Looking back on my snow storm experience, I can laugh about it now... mostly because I’m not currently standing in a foot of snow with the wind blowing on me.
One of the adventures I had with my dad was getting up cattle to ship, and shipping them off to Garden City, Kansas. The day before we got the cattle up and ready to load, Savannah asked my dad, “Dad, how do you get up cattle in a foot of snow?” Since we didn’t have a snowmobile to pull out of a shed, the snow made our cattle round-up a bit tough. Occasionally my dad refers to me as “the legs”. This is because I often run and grab a tool, drive up cattle to feed bunks from a pen or shoo cattle out from under trees while getting them up. Either way, I usually don’t mind. Sometimes (when I’m feeling positive) I even consider it an extra cross country workout.
During cattle round up day, my role as “the legs” was really put to the test. At one point, I had to walk down a big hill while being careful not to spook the cattle, shimmey through a barbed wire fence while wearing three layers of clothes and close a gate, all before being noticed by a few cattle enjoying some hay at a hay ring. Typically, that’d be a pretty easy job, but with the snow almost higher than my insulated boots, marching through that snow was quite a job. Even as a runner, I was sucking air by the time I made it back to the truck!
The next day, my dad and I successfully loaded the cattle on a pot so they could be shipped out west.
Two of our more common tasks included working on water tanks and feeding hay. As far as water tanks, I’ll just say my hairdryer from the bottom drawer of my sink came in handy.
After those projects, we fed hay to the cattle. I like feeding hay because I get to ride along with my dad while he drives the tractor. Unfortunately, there is no buddy seat so I just awkwardly sit between the side of the cab and the edge of the seat. Despite the occasional head bang on the window, I enjoy it. After I tear off the plastic wrap, riding along and watching the cattle eat hay is warm and pretty effortless.
Taking care of cattle in winter really is a testament to how hard working cattle producers are, and how much they care about their cattle.
Winter weather and freezing temperatures require the producer to go the extra mile when it comes to watering, feeding, checking and anything else involving the care of their livestock.
Throughout the blizzardy weekend, I also made time for fun activities. I went sledding, made a huge snowman (complete with a cowboy hat and leather gloves) and did my favorite winter activity, made snow ice cream! I was really able to experience what it was like to have 12+ inches of snow, and by the time I went back to school on Wednesday, I felt like I had my fair share of it!
Now for those of you still persevering through the challenges of winter, keep up the good work and, just remember, like my dad says, “90 more days until green grass!”