The Curse of Mother Nature

This spring has been a funky mix of weather around here. And when I say “funky” I mean utterly depressing, full of rain and cool temperatures. Being able to work in the fields has proven to be a minor miracle, and finding a day of good weather to work cows has been a futile search.

But this morning I heard my Iowa hometown had been hit by twin tornadoes. Granted, they were baby twisters, but they caused a lot of damage. My brother’s ranch is only about seven miles out of town, so I called him up to see if he was alive. “So far, so good,” he said, fixing water gaps from the gully-washing 4.5 inches of rain he’d gotten. *gulp* I’d forgotten about the torrential Iowa rains!

“Let me know if you die, okay?” I said.

“Sure. You do the same,” he said as we signed off.

It’s been a wild spring weather wise clear across the nation, and it started me thinking. Sometimes folks look at farmers and ranchers and think, “Man, they’re their own boss, they get to work outside, they grow food. Amazing!” Except sometimes not.

Many farmers and ranchers may be the only name on the side of the truck they drive, but Mother Nature (and the bank?) is the real boss. I love the outdoors. There’s no place I’d rather spend my time, but she’s a tough master. There’s no reasoning with her, pleading your case, or driving a bargain. You do the best you can, and then you have to let it go.

Control: there is no such thing in farming and ranching – or life – it’s really just an illusion we carry around under one arm. No wonder one of my arms is longer than the other.


  1. It always amazes me that within the USA we can have devastating prairie fires in Texas and OK then have flooding in KY and Tenn. Heat waves in NE and IA and tornadic activity across the south and mid-wet and all occurring at the same time.

    The hubby spent Monday farming and has not been back since. It is nice to get some moisture, but a cloudy 40 degrees with wind this morning is a bit cool for May. I am sure our 4-Wheeler ride to gather cattle for branding on Saturday will require insulated overalls!

  2. I always love hearing about the realities vs. the perception of the western/ranch life. It is so glorified in movies and books. Great Quote: “There’s no place I’d rather spend my time, but she’s a tough master.” We lived in Colorado for 2 years – left when the temperature got to 32 below and 24 feet of snow one winter. Decided the Rockies were not for us (yes i miss it from time to time). Mother nature can be harsh.

  3. There is really no predicting Mother Nature. It can be so soft and gentle at one point and cruel and unforgivingly relentless at times. We might as well learn to deal with its changing moods.

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