Friday, January 2, 2015


On the second day of 2015 the world -- at least that part of the world near Kimball, Nebraska -- warmed up.
This old chain-drive truck skeleton has lain here for more than 100 winters.

We had a solid week of frosty, Arctic temperatures. The low during that week was minus 18 (wind chill was minus 45 at one point) and the high was 10.
Even with temps below freezing, snow on the sun-warmed grain chute of an old combine melts and drips.

As a rancher I have to get out in the real world every day. Doesn't matter what the conditions are or how I feel about the whole thing, the cattle need to be checked and their basic requirements for food, water and shelter met. It's what I do and I'm well experienced, so it's not nearly as bad as it might sound. But it's not optional, and genuine misery is an occasional occupational reality.

The cold always passes though, as does the sweltering heat of summer. The key is to suck it up and drive on, endure the harshness, misery, and bad stuff, and embrace and cherish the good stuff. While there is bad stuff, there's a whole lot more good stuff.
And again.

One of the good things about terribly cold weather is how wonderful a slight warming can feel.
Self portrait.

Today the mercury nudged 31 degrees for a few minutes, and spent most of the daylight hours above 20 degrees. There was almost no wind, and though the sky was mostly cloudy, the sun peeped down from time to time. The sun that's already noticeably moving north toward a rendezvous with the summer solstice in June.
Ice glory.

There'll be plenty of winter over the next few months; more than enough snow and cold and ice. But on the second day of the year, with a slight warming and intermittent sunshine, it's easy to enjoy the beauty of a still winter day and dream of springtime. Calving. Opening day...
Shea. 1969. Wickimedia Commons.

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