As I sat down to write this earlier… my youngest son called. It was after 11 pm. He had run off the road was the jist of his sporadic cell phone call. “Come pull me out. Bring a flashlight.” I understood that much and went and woke up Vernon. Daniel was in the shower and rinsed quickly to come along. Toria was already in her pajamas and in bed, but came out to hold vigil on the couch until we returned. Bundled up, we trudged out to the pickup and drove down the road. I assumed he had headed for the Mills Place where he spends the night alone. He wasn’t there along the three mile stretch. We returned and headed north this time, which made sense. That’s the only place to get cell service. I hadn’t heard the specifics of his call so I sent us on a wild goose chase. There he was. North of our turnoff just half a mile. He had slid off while turning around after finishing a call to his girlfriend. He apologized for the inconvenience. But he was OK. His Dakota was OK. The sky was dark and full of blazing stars. It was warm. It took 5 minutes to pull him out. He headed for his bed and we returned to ours. A minor event. But a Christmas blessing nonetheless.
For years we have fed on two different ranches… ours and the one we lease from a neighbor. It helps keep cows/newborn calves separate, just in case someone gets ill and wants to spread it… plus it is easier on the fields and creek to spread the cattle out. I’ve shared many pics of us feeding and graining and chopping ice and calving, but I’m pretty sure I’ve never sent out photos of how Johnny feeds.
FINALLY! The shortest day of the year has arrived! It is easy to understand why this day was/is celebrated… I feel like throwing a party myself! The amount of darkness really does make a difference in our lives here… and since Vernon swears he runs on solar power, the idea of longer and brighter days thrills him as well. Often in winter Vernon will fall asleep by 6 or 7 pm where in the summer he is just leaving to do his “evening shift” of irrigating or haying.