Tag Archives: Ranching

The Anniversary of Atlas

One year ago today I remember exactly what was happening…..a storm was raging. A winter storm…..the kind that has the weather guys all in a fury……the kind that affects everyone in the area…..the kind that has livestock owners worried beyond belief……the kind that leaves devastation in its wake.

One year ago today was just the beginning of the horror that would ensue over the next few days leaving thousands of head of livestock dead……leaving our region crippled and in a state of shock. One year ago today we lost a sort of innocence that shrouded those of us not old enough to remember the last horrific blizzards in the 70’s.

I remember hearing the term “Storm Atlas” on the Weather Channel. Not long before that I had started hearing blizzards and other winter storms with names. At first I thought it was strange. I could understand naming a hurricane, but a blizzard? I now look back at the irony of the name chosen for the storm of the century.

“In Greek Legend Atlas was a Titan who took part in the revolt against the gods. As a punishment he was condemned to hold the heavens aloft forever. Atlas was usually represented as a human figure bearing the heavens or the celestial globe upon his shoulders.”

How symbolic that is…….Storm Atlas literally held the state of our world in its grasp.

As I sit here typing, I can hear the wind howling outside. My mind has gone back to a year ago as I listened to something similar. The difference is that we are dealing with rain this time and not snow. I’m thankful for that……more than you know.

So much has happened over the past year. I can honestly tell you though that I am gun shy when it comes to the weather now. I don’t think I am alone in that capacity either. I half winced when October rolled around. The wound left by what happened is still very fresh in everyone’s mind. It has been talked about, written about, covered on the news, and visualized by everyone who went through it…..countless times. I got in on writing a story about a surviving family in northern South Dakota a month or so ago for a publication. I literally had tears rolling down my face and the gal told me their story. The feelings and memories are still so raw. I truly believe that only time can heal this kind of wound.

Not all has been lost as there has been hope. Hope in the form of friends and neighbors bonding together to help each other, the farm bill finally going through, livestock donations, a plentiful year of rainfall, and the livestock markets are strong.

Going through something like Storm Atlas has given everyone a completely new perspective on things. It was a sharp reminder that we, as humans, don’t control things as much as we’d like to think. Mother Nature proved that she is still holding the reins. We can prepare for things as much as we can, but in the end prayer and hope is all we really have…..and each other. Without that……..everything would truly be lost.

My faith in humanity was restored in the aftermath of Storm Atlas. The outpouring of help from people in the communities was amazing. And while it couldn’t bring back the livestock lost it brought back a sense of caring and compassion that is sometimes lost in our busy lives in the 21st century.

I am proud to be a women in agriculture. There are so many awesome things that happen around us everyday. It’s easy to get lost and to lose your perspective when you live out in the sticks, but I, for one, am glad that I have the solitude to reflect on the things that are truly important in this life. There will always be storms……there will always be horrible things that happen……there will always be life as we don’t want it…….but there will also always be folks we can count on, family, and faith. I am most thankful for those things.

Here is to an uneventful fall……one full of golden leaves dancing in the breeze, fat calves going to the sale barn, lots of bred back cows, and a chance to truly be thankful for all that we have.

With that, I will leave you with my poem “The Storm Atlas”. I wrote it on the 8th of October one year ago. I still cry when I read it……Blessings to you all.

The Storm Atlas

By Cheyenne Glade Wilson® – written on 10/8/13

The storm came in hard and fast,

Like nothing anyone remembers from the past.

First came the rain, so cold and wet,

At this point, nobody would fret

Then came lots of snow,

And the wind began to blow.

The rancher began to pace,

A look of worry crept to his face.

“How are my animals out in this mess?”

It was his only concern that he cared to confess.

Those animals help to pay the bills,

They are fending for themselves out in those hills.

But his concern was far more than for money or such,

He cared for those critters so very, very much.

He shed blood, sweat and tears,

For them over the years.

They were all partners and relied on that trust,

They needed each other, which is why he cussed.

“Damn you, Mother Nature, and the fits that you throw,

The hand that you’ve dealt us is a might low blow!”

As the storm passed, the rancher did look,

At what he saw, oh, how he shook.

The dead and the dying were all that was seen,

The few survivors were gaunt and lean.

The losses were huge, far above his worst fears,

Soon began more discovery and then came the tears.

Sorrow came next and soon disbelief,

Followed by regret and undeniable grief.

How will they recover many do ask,

It’s what ranchers do, they tend to their task.

They work hard day and night,

And no matter what, they don’t give up the fight.

But the good times outweigh the bad,

So we keep that in mind for better times had.

Things like this are very hard to take,

So many lives lost are hard to forsake.

Just know that this too shall soon be in the past,

Ranchers are a tough bunch, which is why they last.

Prayers are free; there is no cost,

So let’s bow our heads and remember all that’s been lost.

Let’s pray for better days and for the heaviness of heart,

Let’s pray for strength and for another start.

The Storm Atlas

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Cheeseburger Pie & Ranch Stuff

It’s been a busy couple of days around here….plus, I just battled off a migraine. For those of you who have never had one….thank your lucky stars LOUDLY!!! I honestly never suffered from them before I turned 30. I had a few bad headaches here and there (working around perfumes), but when I finally ventured into migraine territory…..I got scared! Migraine sufferers out there can relate to me I’m sure. It’s not fun when you can’t see out of one eye and the faintest glint of light makes you nauseous. Almost two months ago, I decided to cut out Splenda and I started taking Mygrafew. My migraines have decreased drastically! It’s kind of scary to think how much Splenda I have ingested over the years and what it was doing to my body….yikes! I believe that my problems now are due to hormones. I’m 40…..getting closer to “the change” so I am positive that is what I’m dealing with now.

I woke up with a migraine this morning….not a fun way to wake up, but I decided to deal with it head on. I ate a banana for breakfast and took 975 mg. of Acetaminophen. Off I went to check on the heifers and the cows. This has become my daily duty first thing every morning. I love it….nothing like fresh air and getting to see the countryside and our cattle to brighten a person’s spirits! Here are a few sights I saw over the last few mornings:

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Three mornings ago, I came upon this scene. A mama cow, her baby, and a winter calf who was investigating the newborn. I smile when I see this picture…..that winter calf is all fuzzy and scraggly while the newborn is all slick and shiny! The winter calf ran off to his mother not far away as soon as I snapped this picture. 🙂

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The cows were snowy two mornings ago….they were in the rough country eating grass while trying to stay out of the wind.

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These girls found a bank to hide behind….that wind was vicious!

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Such an amazing view I had this morning! Wonderful, indeed! Our cows could feel the warmth of the sun and there was no wind. They moved out of the roughs and were out eating grass wherever they pleased. This sight warms my heart!

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I spied a brand new baby in the grass so I took a closer look. It’s mama wasn’t far off keeping a close eye on me. Can you see the other baby off in the distance with it’s mama also close by? I didn’t stay long as I didn’t want to disturb the napping newborn. I smiled all the way home!

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This has been my outfit the last couple of mornings….that wind is cold! Shane calls me “Fargo” when I wear this hat…..he thinks he is funny….at least I’m never cold when I wear it! 🙂

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Before I went home after checking the cows this morning, I stopped to see my two best boys – Doc & Shotgun. I gave them a few treats and checked their hay and water. All was good so I gave Doc a good scratch on his back….look at all that shedding hair! Shotgun was interested in what I was doing. Spring is on the way!

I got back home and my migraine was better….fresh air, I tell ya! I walked into the house to the smell of bacon frying…..and got handed a cup of hot cocoa….I’m a lucky woman for sure! It was way better than breakfast in bed…..I can assure you! Speaking of my husband, I just love this picture!

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He is riding Shotgun, a real bronc…..haha! Did I mention that?! 😉 Shane rode him last night to gather the heifers bareback with just a string around his neck. I love this horse! Glad to call him mine (Shane might try to steal him, but I’m going to fight hard on this one). 🙂

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It’s amazing how much warmer it is to ride bareback. Doc is a gentle guy too…..may have to try him bridleless one of these days! I decided I’d better use a halter on him at least last night.

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Doc is the best horse we have (in my opinion) and it’s not just because I love him so. You can do anything on him. I am grooming him to someday be Stone’s. I think he will be great for youth rodeo, which isn’t that far off! Stone took a shine to Doc long ago….I think it’s mutual.

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The best view of the evening as we gathered heifers a couple of nights ago!

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The two best cowboys I know…..this truly makes my heart sing!

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Shane and Stone pairing out a heifer…..as I stand back to turn her into the gate. Ranching is definitely a family affair! I would say the future of ranching looks good in our family so far. 🙂

We went to my folks’ for Sunday dinner today (we try to do this several times per month). Either my mom cooks, or I do, or we do it together….either way it sure is nice to live close to one another. Today, mom made Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes, Gravy, Fresh Rolls, Fruit Salad, and Peach Cobbler. YUM!!!

I came home and took 800 mg. of Ibuprofen hoping that it would help to totally get rid of this migraine. Then, I worked on finishing up some bookkeeping that I’m behind on…..with a bit of a headache left. I’m glad to say that it’s almost gone. I decided to make Cheeseburger Pie for supper. This is a recipe that goes back over 40 years! I’m not sure where my mom got it, but it came from her…..and it is wonderful!

Cheeseburger Pie

  • 1 Pie Crust
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 tsp. Salt
  • ½ tsp. Oregano
  • ¼ tsp. Pepper
  • ¼ c. Onion, chopped
  • ¼ c. Green Pepper, chopped
  • 1-8 oz. can of Tomato Sauce
  • ½ c. Dry Bread Crumbs or Oatmeal

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare pastry for 9 inch one crust pie. In skillet, cook and stir meat.

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When about half browned, add the green pepper and onion. Finish browning.

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While it cooks, make sure to break up the ground beef into small chunks.

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Drain off fat, stir in salt, pepper, oregano, crumbs/oatmeal, and tomato sauce.

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Turn into pastry lined pan.

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Cheese Topping:

  • 1 Egg
  • ¼ c. Milk
  • ½ tsp. Salt
  • Mustard & Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 c. Shredded Natural Cheddar Cheese

Stir first 5 ingredients together then add the cheese.

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Spread over top of filling.

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Bake about 30 minutes.

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Cut into wedges. Serve. Believe me….you’ve never tasted anything quite like this! I think the mustard and Worcestershire “do” something to this recipe. This is good right away or the next day…..I love anything that makes good leftovers (I know what Shane will be eating for lunch tomorrow)! Hope you like this recipe as much as we do. Enjoy! ~Cheyenne