Tuesday, February 19, 2013


We are having quite a cold snap here in northern Dakota.  Last night the overnight low was something near minus 35 degrees.  Today's high was about minus 5 degrees.  Tonight it could be about minus 20.  Now these are air temps, any bit of wind makes the wind chill (feels like temp) worse.  Last night they said the wind chill was about minus 55-60 degrees Fahrenheit.

Since we are calving now we need to be walking through the cattle herd occasionally.  When it is this cold we are checking every two hours.  What are we checking for?  Well, we are looking for newborn calves or females showing signs of labor.  If there is a fresh calf we need to get the cow/calf pair into the barn and put the calf in a specially built box with a heater so we can warm the little "guy" up.  If they are too cold they could freeze off part or all of their ears or tail or even have damage to their hooves/feet  OR  they could die.  If a female is showing signs of labor then we try to get her into the barn so she has her calf inside (saving moving a calf and it is warmer).  If anything is calving (in labor), then we check on them more frequently until they have their calf.

During the average temps, we will check every 3-4 hours and I take the middle of the night check (about 3 AM).  With this weather, we are taking turns checking.  Tonight (rather tomorrow AM) I will be checking at 3 & 5.  I usually take the night shift because it is easier for me to get back to sleep AND because the men are busy with other chores during the day while I can (hopefully) catch a nap.

I have written about my night checks before in case you are interested in my experience/thoughts from a previous year.

The Fotos by Friends group that I am in has a photo topic of  'Cold' this week.  I thought I would share a couple of the photos that I took that fit the topic.

Here are a bunch of horses.  Some of them have moved here from southern USA so they are not yet accustomed to the cold.  Paige will put a coat on them to help keep them warm.  The ones without coats have lived in the north country forever so they are already toughened up!!

I like the turtle shell coat on this one!  It makes me smile every time I see it.  You can see we have been getting snow during this cold snap too as it has settled onto the backs of the horses.


  1. I just got back in from my 5 AM check. No calves tonight (and that is good news). The temp is minus 12 and the wind chill is about minus 35. The weatherman says you could freeze your exposed skin in less than 10 minutes. Yep, less than 10 would seem accurate. It is a bit windy and that really 'cuts' the skin. Off to bed to warm up my cold skin and get some sleep!

  2. It sure is beautiful up there but I think I'd have to hibernate.

  3. Don't worry Brenda, when it is this cold you go out as little as possible. The cold will literally take your breath away when you step out the door. However, it is a wonderful place to live & raise a family! Thanks for stopping by.