Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Bringing the Boys Home

August marches on. There's a snap in the morning air that says Fall is coming.

This month’s full moon is called the sturgeon moon; seems the large bottom-dwelling fish were traditionally caught in August. It has also been called the red moon, as August skies are often hazy, causing a change in hue. Last night there was smoke in the air, and the moon, a day past full, was a hauntingly rose color. 

All the plant life is taking in the sun’s energy with a vengeance, in anticipation of shorter days and long cold nights. The race is on to set seed and lay down roots. Zinnias troop across the garden. The kingbirds have quieted just a little from their summer racket-making at 4:30 a.m. The currants and chokecherries are bending branches in the mountains. Those in our yard are waning fast from the robins and a few cedar waxwings. 

Mid-August also means pulling the bulls from the herd. They only work about three months a year and just get into trouble if left with the cows. We had a good day sorting them out and hauling them home. Putting them in a bunch again reminded them how much they dislike each other. I’m always warning my kids and any extra help to stay clear of their head-butting, as their mass and speed can overwhelm a horse and rider in a flash. It’s an exciting event to get them separated, usually needing a little more aggression than normal cow work. It was good practice for the young horses, Jane and Gent, that Mark and Seth rode.

Since they got home and away from the girls, the bulls have settled down. Gary usually says at this time of year, “now if we could just let the air out of them and put them on a shelf til spring!” That comment always inspires a vision in my mind, of popping a button just behind their shoulder, watching them shrivel, then piling them in the back of the barn. But no, they need to eat and drink everyday - and will be, for the most part, docile and congenial to their mates once again. 

All photos by Anita Pratt

stalling by the Sno Riders cabin 

Mater and Sly at work

not convinced

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