This is my diary of the Blizzard of March 2019 aka Bomb Cyclone and also known as Ulmer.
At the time of these diary entries, we had just started calving with about 25 head on the ground.
Friday, March 8
Today was my 40th Birthday. Cary and her twins, Cole and Logen, and my twins Ryder and Reata, and myself were in Lincoln, Nebraska. We were there to watch my oldest son, Cade and the Bridgeport Bulldogs Basketball team at State. We did a little shopping and by noon we were heading west. As we were heading home, radio stations across Nebraska were already talking about a storm that was heading our way. We made it home just after dark. We had a great time with friends and the kids on our trip. Cade and Kason came home late because they rode on the team bus.
Saturday, March 9
We had a big breakfast and talked as a family about Lincoln, Basketball, and the weather prediction. We all worked together to get the chores done and the cattle fed. I also worked on laundry and dishes. For supper, we headed in to town to have birthday supper with some friends and family at the local steak house. I had a prime rib!! 40 doesn’t look so bad!!
Sunday, March 10
We had a big breakfast as a family. We then sat down and read our Bibles together. Each of us shared a verse and what it means to us. I love hearing what the kids and Cody have to share. We then had a meeting about the chore list, who was going to do what chores and we also talked about the blizzard the weather channels kept talking about. We decided to bring a couple loads of hay close to the house and also build a wind break out of bales for the cows. It was a long day of chores and cattle work.
Monday, March 11
The kids did not have school. I went to Scottsbluff to pick up a processed beef, took the feed store’s crashed computer to a repair place, picked up some groceries and then headed home. The kids stayed home and helped Cody move all the cattle close to the barns. We had decided that if the storm was going to be really bad that we would move all the pairs (cows with babies) and all the heavies (cows that are still pregnant) close to our barns. You see, we calve out our heifers (first time moms) at our home place and our main herd at our place we call “Murphys”. Murphys is about 6 miles north of our home. It takes approximately 1 hour to get there, so two hours round trip. The house there is no longer livable but we do have a small barn and electricity there. After that they moved all the heifers and yearlings in the corrals close to the main house. We ended the day with eating the beef that I brought home!
Tuesday, March 12
The kids and I headed to school. We listened to our local radio station all the way to town, which takes about 45-50 minutes. The radio just kept telling us about the storm and that we needed to prepare for no electricity and prepare our livestock for a bad storm. By this time we all were getting super worried about what this storm could do. Cody built a couple of wind breaks with hay bales to help stop the wind. The weather stations were reporting that the wind would be out of the north. I had a doctors appointment in Scottsbluff and after my appointment I hurried back to the feedstore to help with customers. After work we headed home. We filled up all our water jugs, got all the candles out. I cooked 5+ pounds of hamburger (So we could have quick meals). The school called to tell us that there would be no school on Wednesday. As we went to bed, we prayed that God would be with our animals and that he would guide us through the storm.
Wednesday, March 13
We woke up early to freezing rain and the wind blowing. I cooked a fast breakfast and sent it with Cody and Kason. They headed to Murphys. Cade, Ryder, Reata and I stayed at home. Cade and I started to do chores which constist of feeding 8 bucket calves (calves that their moms didn’t have milk or they werr twins), feeding 5 bucket baby goats, feeding the 4-H/FFA steers, feeding the herd of goats, feeding hay to all the cattle in the corral, and checking on the heavies. My list goes on and on. Cody and I made a plan that I would be in the house at noon so that I could get his phone call. You see, you have to climb a certain hill and hold your phone just right to get any service.
“Hello. You made it to Murphy’s?”
“Yes, we did. It is getting bad out. We have a couple of new calves, but everything else looks good. Kason and I are going to stay here with the cows. If it doesn’t get to bad, I will call you later. Man, the wind is blowing so hard I can hardly see the corrals. “
“Okay, it is getting bad out but we still have electricity. We haven’t had any new babies here.”
“I will call you when when the blizzard stops. Love ya”
“Love ya, bye.”
Cade and I continued going and looking at the heifers every hour. The wind was blowing so hard and the snow was piling up. The only way not to get lost on the way to the corrals was to head straight out the door and walk until you hit the barn. Then you could walk around to the south side out of the snow blowing so hard. It was about 5 o’clock and we decided to gather up all of the babies and put them in the barn. By putting them in the barn, I was sure that they wouldn’t be tampled. It was a chore. The mud was deep and the snow was cold. The babies weren’t sure what was going on but we managed to get them all in the barn. We left the moms out. They had protection from the wind. We still had not heard from Cody and Kason. The school called to say no school tomorrow. That evening we did the chores as listed above again and continued checking heifers though out the night. Cade would go one hour and I would go the next. It was a long night for sure. We didn’t hear from Cody and Kason. We didn’t loose our power. Two calves were born during the night and we put them in the barn.
Thursday, March 14
By this morning, Cade and I were exhausted and emotionally drained. We still hadn’t heard from Cody and Kason. The wind was still blowing. We had a little breakfast and started on the chores. It was a struggle to get them done. Every chore we had to work twice as hard. The goats’ pen was so full of snow that they couldn’t get out of their shed. The barn door had a huge drift in front of it. The chickens whole yard was full of snow. It took us 3 times the amount of time to get the chores done. By this time, we were thankful that we had power and that we could come in and warm up. We would come in and check the machine to see if Cody had called. He hadn’t. A little after lunch the wind started to die down. We made contact with a couple of the neighbors to see if everyone was okay. It was good to hear that everyone was drained, but okay. We decided that we would have lunch and Cade would head out with the tractor to Murphys. Finally after more than 24 hours, the phone rang.
“Hello, its good to hear your voice.”
“Yes, we are good. How about you?”
“We are good. We had 9 calves. We put them all in the barn. We didn’t sleep at all in the pickup but we stayed warm and nothing is dead.”
“Nothing is dead here either but we have a couple of heifers that are about to calve.”
“Okay, I have been stuck twice up here with the tractor and with the pickup. We got it out and we are going to try to head home.”
“Okay, I will send Cade your way with the tractor.”
“Love ya bye.”
As the afternoon went on, Reata and I made some cookies and we continued to check the heifers. Reata and Ryder went sledding. One heifer was just having a hard time, so I decided that I better pull her calf. Reata and I got the job done. The baby and the mom are doing fine. The crew showed up in time to help with the night time chores. The corrals were full of snow, water and mud. We put fresh hay down for all the livestock so that they would have a dry place to stand. The school called to report no school for Friday. We ended our day with steaks on the Traeger Grill and a family around the table talking about the blizzard.
Friday, March 15
We started the day with breakfast. We all pitched in and helped with the chores. We did a head count on all our cattle. The mud was deeper than our Bog Boots. The meadows are full of running water. Cody, Reata and I headed to Murphys in the Big Red because a pickup would just get stuck. At the top of the special hill in Murphys I got a voicemail from the doctor. “Naomi, would you please call our office as soon as you can.” So holding my phone just right, I rang the doctor office. “Hello, this is Naomi Loomis and I am returning your call.” “Hi, Naomi just a minute and I will get the nurse.” “Hello Naomi, your test results that we did on Tuesday don’t look so good and you need to start on an strong antibotic right way. You also need to come back to the doctor in a couple of weeks for more testing.” “Okay, thank you. We will be in touch.” As I hung up the phone, I was worried about how to get my medicine. The roads were closed all around us and I knew that our county road would be full of snow. I ended up calling Cary, Cody’s sister, who was working at the feedstore. She went and picked it up for me. I told Cody that I would drive the Big Red all the way to town if I had to just to get my medications. We tagged and sorted the pairs out of the corrals at Murhpys and then headed back home. Cade and Kason had stayed home during this time. They kept tabs on the heifers and ended up pulling a calf.
As the night fell on the ranch, we talked about the folks that this storm affected to the west of us. We watched videos of water and mud wiping out what ever was in it’s path. We all prayed for our neighbors to the east.
Saturday, March 16
The county plowed our road so that I could get to town. It took four wheel drive to get out of the ranch. We picked up a few groceries, feed and my medications. We headed back home. We helped finish up the chores. We tagged calves. We turned cows out to pasture. The sun was shining. We all got a short nap.
Heres a couple of my tidbits about the Bomb Cyclone, aka Ulmer:
I am thankful for the weather stations that gave us a heads up about storms. We were able to prepare our livestock to the best of our abilities to protect them from the elements.
I am thankful that cattle have thick skins that provide protection in weather like this storm.
I am thankful for our kids. It took a team to get everything fed, watered, checked and so on. The kids really helped us out.
I am thankful for the county who came and plowed us out.
I am thankful for all the prayers, calls, messages and texts for friends and neighbors near and far.
I am thankful for antibiotics. That was a rough week being sick and not being able to get to town to get them.
I think what set this storm apart was the unknown. We knew it was going to be a blizzard but by saying it was a “bomb cyclone” just added to the unknown. I am here to say that we survived a Bomb Cyclone.
I am going to end the diary with our nap because I think we should focus now on helping our neighbors to the east.
Here are a couple of links to do so: