*NOTE: My family does not have cable or local television for regional news, but since posting this earlier today, I learned from friends who traveled across the state and from relatives, the devastating toll this weekend’s snowstorm took on ranches and livestock. I had no idea how severe the storm hit other areas. I have not been able to stop thinking about the number of cattle and other livestock that did not survive and the severity of damage in other areas due to the storm. It’s left me with a sickening feeling for other livestock owners. Please pray for them as they try to recover from loss of livestock and the essence of their livelihood. *

I forgot to grab my camera before I left home and because I was trying to save my cell phone’s battery, I did not go crazy taking pictures, but I did take a few breaks shoveling snow to get some pictures with my phone of Saturday’s activity in the parking lot at the K bar S Lodge. Hover over the pictures for more details.

This past Thursday I attended the Rural Women in Ag Conference at the K bar S Lodge in Keystone, South Dakota. I was fully aware that there was a good chance I might be there an extra night due to the impending snowstorm forecasted for the Black Hills. I topped off the gas in my car; made sure my phone was completely charged, threw in extra clothes and boots, and headed to Keystone.

What I didn’t predict and plan for was being stranded there without power until Sunday morning. Friday about 3:30 a.m. the power went out and I was thankful I had made a conscious effort to shut my phone off to save the battery (since I forgot to bring along my car phone charger and I am notorious about not shutting my phone off at night). Friday’s portion of the conference continued without power but no one was bothered by it. During breaks was a lot of phone calling and small group discussions about deciding whether to stay or brave the weather to get home. Being there with friends and other rural women in agriculture from around the state made the stay easier to deal with. Farm and ranch women took the opportunity to savor fellowship time with other like-minded women. Our lengthy stay deepened new friendships and old, and strengthened the WIA agriculture family bond. Most of us spent our candlelit and fireplace-lit evenings in the lodge’s lobby having a beer or wine in plastic cups, and engaging in conversations we don’t always get enough time to enjoy.

It was not surprising that all of the women attending the WIA conference, including all four of the speakers (3 women and 1 man) did not complain once about the inconvenience of receiving well over two feet of snow, but rather everyone made the best of the circumstances by getting to know the others attending the conference until we all felt like one big family.


I believe all of us farm and ranch women have not only experienced similar situations at our home, but we are used to the unexpected and have learned how to adapt, improvise and overcome challenging situations.


We all made ourselves useful in various ways, either by helping the WIA committee members clean up and haul stuff to their vehicles, help dig each other’s cars out, share flashlights and hotel rooms, charge others’ phones in their cars, help the K bar S Lodge staff shovel pathways to the other buildings hosting guests, or aid cook staff with setting up for serving meals.

My girlfriend Kari even swapped her snow boots with a newlywed bride from Ireland who only had flat slip-on shoes and wanted to walk with her groom into Keystone to see the town. Below, guest speaker John Beranek helping my girlfriend dig her van out.





One of our guest speakers even made a snow woman by the lodge’s entrance. Once a payloader showed up late Saturday afternoon and cleared the lodge’s driveway, farm and ranch women, our guest speakers, and some husbands who’d driven their wives out for the conference, all helped get cars out of the snow and re-parked them for easier departure once the main highways were okayed for travel. Our rural women’s group effort made me proud to be a part of such a great community of people. Even though we would’ve rather been home with our families, we all had fun in spite of our situation and anxieties about getting home.

The K bar S Lodge staff was outstanding and went above and beyond their jobs to accommodate our group plus a few other groups and individual guests stranded there. They managed to provide us with hot meals and drinks and even desserts, the whole time we were there using propane and old fashioned methods for cooking the food. I’m sure everyone stuck there would agree when I say that we all ate better than we do at home. Even though I missed being at home with my family stuck inside instead of getting stiff and sore from scooping snow, I couldn’t have been stranded in a better place to ride out the winter storm Atlas—a lodge resort with “my people”—men and women in ag.

One response to “SNOWBOUND”

  1. Candy C. Avatar

    That is a LOT of snow!
    Way down here in Arizona, we heard about the blizzard on the news but not about the damage and the loss of livestock. My thoughts are with those affected.

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