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Spring Storms and Winter Memories


We are in the early hours of what the weather forecasters say could be a blizzard of historic proportions. This photo was taken about 10 am as I am recalling my first two winters living ranch life. No matter what this storm does, I don't think it will hold a candle to what we went through the winters of 77-78 and 78-79. Those winters started in November and continued right into April.


A blizzard was not an event, it was pretty much an every day occurrence those winters. One day, as I was bemoaning how awful it was that first year, Howard assured me, "Don't worry, I have never seen it this bad before, it probably won't ever be this bad again!" He was wrong! The next winter was even worse.


Before we moved to the ranch, we lived in our 14x70 mobile home about a mile south of Medora and I worked at the bank there (I was making about $250/month). After five years, we moved our mobile home to the ranch and began living the life. Because I chose to move 27 miles away and because I was the sole employee of the bank station in Medora, I felt that I HAD to get to work every day-and I did. It wasn't easy.


We had no cell phones, no 4-wheel drive vehicles, no garage and the roads we not nearly as good or as well maintained as they are now, I was a rare ranch wife that had to get to work and there were no school busses, so opening roads was not a priority for anyone but us, it seemed.


I drove a standard transmission, two door Mercury Monarch back and forth to work each day, with 4 year old Krista sitting on the armrest in the front seat beside me, so I could grab her if I needed to,

This was not our car, but this is pretty much what it looked like. Many times, I told people that I figured I had a pretty good day if I only got stuck once. Often, if the roads were open in the morning, they were shut by evening and vice-versa. The railroad tracks in Sentinel Butte and the curve going around the hill, up out of Sentinel Butte, towards the Interstate, were an everyday problem. The hill going out of town eventually got to be a one-lane only, S-curve, with snow on both sides you could not see over. Somedays, there were a half dozen other vehicles caught there in the "trap" with me.


I was looking for some pictures from those winter and found that I took very few. I probably didn't want to remember it at the time! But I did find these from February 1978.


This was taken in Sentinel Butte.




This was my entrance to the Bank in Medora.




This is Krista playing on a snow bank by my Mom's house in Medora -this would be just to the north of Chateau Nuts and across from the DeMores park.



Our front yard on the ranch and my trail to the car.

Howard and Dick, working on clearing snow.


The good news is that even if we get an epic snow storm in the next couple of days, we really, really did need the moisture (I don't usually like it when people say this during calving) and it will all be gone in a few days.


I remember one particular harrowing trip home after being snowed in in Medora for a couple of days. Howard came to get us with a pickup, and the drive usually takes about a half an hour from Medora. That evening, I believe it took us about four hours, with getting stuck, being winched through snowdrifts and walking by foot from one vehicle to another to get past the worst. Ahhh, the good old days....


Now we have better roads, heated garages, 4-wheel drive vehicles, cell phones, safe car seats for kids, wonderful weather reports and more people seem to need to get where they want to go, other that this one lonely ranch wife who worked in town back in the late 1970"s.


So, I hate to say this, but this is my first blizzard since I retired, and our first blizzard where we don't own livestock, and I am a little excited by the prospect. I am praying for our kids' and their livestock and all the other ranchers out there, but this grandma is blogging, sewing, cooking chili, looking out the window, watching tv, reading, or whatever the hell she wants to do. TTFN

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