ROY, Mont. – As January wound to an end, temperatures remained rather warm in central Montana. Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow on Feb. 2, signifying it would be an early spring. The Murnion gang really can’t complain about that prediction, except for the fact that warmer temperatures mean mud.
“It has been so muddy around here that it’s been hard to get around. I got the feed truck stuck the other day,” lamented Angie Murnion.
Thankfully the feed pickup was only stuck in the calf lot, which sits just below the house. Even so, Angie still had to trudge back up to the house, start the tractor and then drive it back down to the truck. Her boyfriend was at the ranch visiting for the weekend and Angie was exceedingly thankful for the extra help.
As of Feb. 3, Angie had been home alone for a week taking care of things. Her parents, Rex and Lori are enjoying some vacation time down in sunny Arizona, and Angie’s older sister, Katlyn, has taken a night-calving job for the season. Angie reported that for the most part things have been going pretty well, but she does admit, at times it is a little overwhelming to be the only one at the place.
There is an old downer cow that Angie is nursing along for the time being and the warm weather has left the feeder calves feeling frisky. With all their extra energy, the calves have been scratching on fence posts a lot which is causing the fence to weaken, and like any good bovine, these young critters are escaping every chance they get.
No wonder Angie feels a bit overwhelmed at times. If she hustles, she can have all the cows fed at the home ranch in about two hours. Then she must drive 17 miles to Grass Range and feed 80 head of cattle the Murnions are running on some lease pasture. Angie only needs to feed those cows two round bales, so that particular bunch doesn’t take her long at all to feed.
Once she is done feeding at the lease pasture, Angie must rush back home and deal with whatever juvenile cattle decided to escape that day. After corralling the wayward individuals, Angie has been spending her afternoons out fixing fence.
Angie’s stint at home all by herself is not without comedy, however. While out feeding one day, Angie’s iPhone fell out of her pocket while she was fiddling with a round bale. Luckily, Angie found her phone the next morning, but it was of course thoroughly smashed after the cows had walked all over it.
As a lifelong agriculturalist, the phone mishap was nothing out of the ordinary to Angie. However, the city dwellers who work for Apple Support found her phone’s tragedy to be hilarious.
“I had to get on the phone with Apple Support and they were just rolling. The supervisor kept saying ‘I’ve never heard a story like that before,’” Angie said.
Needless to say, after some back and forth with Apple Support, Angie was able to get a new phone coming. Hopefully it comes with a cow-proof case!
Angie will certainly be needing her phone because her college basketball team from Alaska will be traveling to Billings the middle of February for a game. In true Montana fashion, the Murnion family has decided to rent an Airbnb in Billings and treat the team to a nice home cooked meal on the Friday before their game.
“I am super excited to see everyone. I haven’t seen any of my teammates since last spring when I left Alaska,” Angie said.
The Murnions have much to look forward to as the weather warms and spring begins to set in. There is never a dull moment for this Montana ranch family as every day brings new challenges and new opportunities to learn.