Day-to-day work of ranching

Back in August we had a windstorm that had sustained winds clocked at more than 100 miles per hour. We lost the roof on our house, the roof on our shed, boards off our deck, furniture off the deck and, most importantly, the machine shed blew down on top of our two tractors, hay swather, baler, ATVs, and other miscellaneous equipment that every farm or ranch has.

This barn was against a pen where we had some bred heifers, so as soon as the storm was over, the kids and I hurried over to move the heifers around to another pen before they stepped on any upturned nails or boards with nails sticking out of them! Then the clean up began.  It took many hot hours to clear away the worst of the debris and get equipment out and assess the damage.

Our barnyard is actually about a half a mile down the state highway from our house. My mother in law lives in the house by the barnyard, and although she wasn't home at the time of the storm, she was very upset to hear that the barn that she had built in 1982 was blown apart. My husband's mother is nearly 78 years old, so she is not closely involved in the day-to-day chores of farming and ranching, but she is still interested as for many years she was deeply involved! So my husband and I, along with the kids' help, began cleaning up the wreckage and evaluating the damage to the equipment before his mother returned home to the mess!

It took us days to tear down the rest of the building, clean up the wreckage, move the equipment to new buildings and make things so that they would work for a few months until a new building could be erected. It was hot, dirty, and very physical work and we were all exhausted every night for weeks.  Finally we had the site prepared and the company putting up a new building was scheduled.  Well, I write this story to tell you that today they finished our new building! I am very excited to get the equipment out of the nooks and crannies that we had put it so that it could be out of the weather and out of our way for a time. But it is now in the way as we need the shop for working on repairs in the winter, and the hay bales behind the swather are needed for feeding heifers who have calved.  So we are looking forward to moving all the tractors and other equipment into the new barn.

Most people don't realize what kind of equipment it takes to run a ranch. I wish it were as easy as owning some land and a few cows. But as expensive as land and cattle are, there is a much larger investment needed.  For most people the most expensive thing they buy is a house or a car, but farmers and ranchers have tens of thousands (and even more) wrapped up in ONE tractor or swather or barn.  It is important to store these expensive pieces of equipment in a good shed or barn to keep them from the weather and varmints. Until you don't have a good shed, you don't value it.  This year has taught us how important a good barn is.

We'll spend the weekend "moving in" and re-settling the rest of the barns and sheds back to their original shape before we needed it to store the displaced machinery. It will not be an easy job, but it will be fun, compared to the demolition work of the old barn!

Farming and ranching is not all romance--checking calves, moving cows, feeding and cowboying. There are many jobs that are just not a lot of fun on a ranch, but they are important to the well being of our cattle.  Making hay and taking care of the equipment are a couple of those jobs.  Just another day on the ranch.


  1. So sorry you all had to deal with this mess, but I'm glad you got a new shed up! Good luck calving. Hope it's warmer out your way that we have it.

  2. That does look to be alot of work.Glad to hear it's all coming back together!

  3. Glad to hear things are working out good. It is soooooooo true how much time, energy and money it takes to run a ranch. I don't think everyday people realize how much goes into that hamburger or steak they are eating.


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