Saturday, April 27, 2013

Spring Winds

It’s April. We shouldn’t be surprised. It snows and then the sun shines. And always (it seems like anyway) the wind blows. It froze hard enough to flatten the few daffodils I had coming up. But April chores need tended no matter the weather.

We’ve been sorting steers and shipping them off the ranch. Some will go to Colorado for the last finishing phase and then sold in the Denver area through Country Natural Beef. A couple of loads went to a local feedlot.  It’s a very full-up feeling to run them across the scales on shipping day. A year’s work in review. They’re beautiful. They run and buck past me in the alley, healthy and vigorous.

There are three baby horned owls in one of the pastures. We saw them huddled on the ground enduring a cold north wind. They were camped on an old homestead which is surrounded by tall elms. The mother owl stands sentry in the branches and barks at us when we come around. I was concerned one morning when the wind had changed direction and crowded the cattle around the house – standing room only. I was sure the babies had been stepped on. We pulled the cattle away with the feed truck that morning, and the next day the owls were still there!

We’re busy burning ditches to turn the irrigation water on. This country grows tumbleweeds and, yes, they tumble when the wind blows. They pile up against the fences and lodge in the ditches. Even the large lateral canals get clogged and burning is used to clear the largest piles. Someone else might cuss the tumbleweeds, but they have their niche in our ecosystem. They cover any disturbed site, provide a microclimate under their canopy, grow on zero water and stabilize the sand. Birds flit among them in the winter feeding on their seeds. So we tolerate them. Someday I hope we all manage in ways that establish perennials and we don't need them anymore.  

Lots of species call our ranch home, some more desirable than others. All part of God’s plan.

No comments:

Post a Comment