Spring comes on like a freight train. The calving routine just starts to let up when the irrigation water needs turned on, the cows need put on grass, fences need fixing; the list grows each day. Just as the grass was looking good, we had a couple of nights of hard frost that burned it back. You can see it as golden flecks across the pasture and it especially stressed the plants because they were dry. It directly affected the feed bank in front of the cows.
With Jesse and Milee's help, we managed a fun, final visit to the University of Idaho as parents. Anna and Cole graduated together and we had a lovely celebration to mark the occasion. It was bittersweet packing Anna up for another move. I don’t think many folks leave the idyllic setting of the Palouse without some melancholy.
Like every spring, we’ve had fun watching birds out our kitchen window. There are some brilliantly colored western tanager and lazuli bunting pairs making their homes here. We had fun going through the bird book and learning to identify a western wood pe-wee and a yellow-rumped warbler.
Though Mark won’t like this memory, this was the spring the older calves got sick just before we headed to the hills. We were bouncing around the pasture one evening just before it got dark. I was driving and Mark was on the passenger side with the door open and his lariat poised. We were trying to sneak up on some sick calves to give them a shot. We treated a few, but found more sick than we could get hold of. We went to bed that night with a sick feeling.
This was the spring we started using a new irrigation tool, a pitchfork with tines that curve downward and is handy for collecting debris that piles up as the first water runs down the ditches. I found it in an old pile this winter and it didn't have a handle, but that was easily fixed. Mark thinks someone modified a regular pitchfork. How many generations of Pratts have been flood irrigating here and never used this tool? (Which reminds me that I left it someplace and need to retrace my steps!)
It’s stressful - this spring weather, as much as we love it. And this life, as much as we love it. In the middle of the night when we’re both awake, worrying, we hold hands silently, hoping that with joint concentration we might reassure one another and fall back asleep. And every morning things look better and we start again.
We’re thankful to have kids here to help, at least for a few more days. We’re thankful the weather has cooled, a blessing for trailing cattle. Tomorrow the herd starts for the mountains and things are what they are. Wishing safety for the crew, health for the herd, and that all the rain in the forecast materializes.
|evening on the Palouse|
|the graduates and newly engaged couple|
|my Dad would call it a "man needer"|
|Dot is not much help|