Monday, April 6, 2015

Spring gets Underway

Spring is bearing down on us. Thank goodness Mark is good natured even in the heat of battle. With a suite of chores to attend to each day - feeding, calving, burning ditches, shipping calves and upgrading irrigation facilities, he methodically tackles each task in order of priority and for the most part keeps his positive attitude.

Me, well I worry too much and think I need to have things a certain way. For a few months every spring and summer that’s a fool’s game. Better to take a breath and trust that we’ve done it before - this year will work out just fine too.

I planted two triple rows of peas which made me feel better. Might as well take advantage of an early spring!   

I slipped away for a day and a half to attend a gathering of range professionals organized as the University of Idaho Rangeland Center. We discussed ways to further range improvement efforts in the state. I’m the lucky one who serves in an advisory capacity and gets to give my opinion, then go home and leave the real work to the pros. 

On the drive home I stopped at Massacre Rocks State Park to see how the grass was coming and ran into Kevin Lynott, the manager there. He’s a grass enthusiast like me so we have plenty to talk about. He showed me an implement he designed and had built that is pulled behind a 4-wheeler to assist in broadcast seeding of native grasses. The Backcountry Mechanical Vector (BMV) Sweet 16 features a mower blade mounted on the end of each of 16 arms which are designed to float over rocks and lightly disturb the soil. Following each blade is a length of chain which scratches the surface as well. He runs it before and after broadcast seeding and has gotten great results. All he’s missing now is some cows to maintain the perennials. And he, in fact, agrees with me!

With all the challenges we face as range managers - fire, invasives, endangered species, drought, etc., it’s good to know there are fine people all around the state like Kevin at State Parks, Neil, Amanda and Glenn in Extension, Karen and Lovina at the University of Idaho, and others, all dedicated and doing their darndest to figure out solutions.

it happens every spring

Kevin and his BMV Sweet 16

without cattle hooves to disturb the soil - the next best thing

still cleaning the occasional barn stall and finding beauty there

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