Monday, July 18, 2011

Keeping it July

Hay harvesting, cutting weeds, and irrigating are the constant chores of July. And, of course, still tending cows.

We can’t seem to keep the old swathers running for more than a couple of days before a breakdown. Then it’s a trip to the parts store in Idaho Falls and a session in the shop. I bought two large bolts yesterday, not so big you couldn’t hold them in the palm of your hand, and wrote out the check for $110.

My twin weed nemeses are houndstongue and burdock. They are especially antagonistic because they produce burrs that stick to the hides of the cattle and dogs and make a mess of the horses’ mane. We're racing nature to get the plants cut before the burrs are viable. I had an early morning session with first Anna and then Seth tramping around the woods with our sharpened shovels.

The heifers, the two-year-olds that will have their first calf next spring, are summering in the valley on irrigated pastures. Seth and I moved them to a new paddock on Tuesday. The landlord is a prodigious irrigator and the sward is beautiful, full of clover and a diversity of grasses. Seth called me a “grass nerd” when I knelt to show him the regrowth since the herd left this field 40 days ago. 

Seth and Mark have been doctoring calves in the hills. With plenty of green grass, mother’s milk, and moderate temperatures, sickness is a mystery.

I wish July would last forever. Seth and Anna are both home and seem okay with ranch work being front and center. In August everything changes. They’ll take off for college, one to Boise and one to Moscow - and leave Mom behind. I’m trying to enjoy each day with them and not dwell on their leaving, but celebrate their upcoming adventures instead. 

40 day recovery from last bite

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