A Cowboy’s Faith: Cold increases ranch issues – Osage County Online | Osage County News

A Cowboy’s Faith: Cold increases ranch issues

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Everything gets tested when temperatures stay below freezing for more than a week.”

Most all in production agriculture and many urbanites as well have found that to become hauntingly true in recent days.

It was only about the third day of the below freezing tantrum when one of three feed trucks started smoking.

The big bale hauling, unrolling contraption had been giving serious problems and was being taken to the mechanic for repairs. Due to those hydraulic mechanism issues that truck had not been used feeding the cows for several days.

Despite near zero temperatures, the pickup started with only a couple of cranks. Warmed up and given visual engine inspection, that old truck seemed to be running smoothly as possible at such maturity.

Headed to the fixit shop at highway speed, all of a sudden smoke started rolling from under the hood. Ranch manager pulled the smoking machine onto a side road, turned it off and started inspection. Cool down took some time, but it was decided that the new antifreeze hadn’t been mixed stringently.

Nothing appeared damaged so two gallons of straight antifreeze were added to the radiator and again given warmup time. Believe it or not, the red bent up pickup made it to the mechanic’s shop without further issues.

Seemingly living right for a while, the next morning all went awry again with a much more serious problem. There wasn’t any water when the faucet was turned on to make coffee. Without home water is bad, but real concern was the 50 head of first calf heifers in the barnyard corral.

Sure enough all three hydrants were frozen with bleak outlook for possibility of thawing out any pipes. However, heat lamps were brought out in full force and after several hours water did start running. Thirsty livestock was amply watered as additional insulation was placed over every known wind leak to prevent further freeze up.

Still there was concern about water for the remaining livestock in a half dozen locations. Fortunately the replacement heifer water pump worked without a hitch, as did the new rural water faucet installed days earlier.

A couple of natural springs still had a trickle but several frozen ponds took considerable chopping to find water.

Reminded of Wisdom 16:29: “Ice of winter shall perish and water flows.”

030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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