The starlings have started their fall time murmurations, those lovely flock formations that swoosh across the landscape as one fluid being. They gather in the evening before roosting and mass and twirl in flight to confuse predators.
There’s a lovely layer of leaves on the ground where the dogs are tied under the cottonwoods. At chore time I’ve had to search around in the leaves to find the dog food dishes.
Mark announced yesterday that he was done irrigating for the year. One by one the canals have shut down. The water slows, then stands, then sinks. It’s sad and it’s beautiful with the leaves layered on top and settling to the canal floor as the water goes away. In a few more days the dogs will have to go to the hydrant for a drink instead of plunging into the canal.
Mark and Jesse have been working in the hills installing and repairing water facilities, fixing fence and upgrading a set of corrals with a crowding alley. I’m so glad they’ve had a chance to do some fall projects that Mark had in mind. He’s got such stamina for the steadiness of ranch work. I’m still hoping he’ll make time for some projects I had on my list, but the calendar is filling and snow is in the forecast.
The calves got to the other side of weaning in fine shape. Thankfully our drinking water foible didn’t bring on any sickness. Anna’s roommate was taken aback when Anna described the weaning process to her. I reminded her that the calves are pretty grown-up kids by now. It’s rather like sending them off to college. It still hurts but we get over it pretty quickly.
I had a fun project visiting some local cover crop farmers and writing news stories about them. The planting of cover crops to enrich the soil after the harvest of the main cash crop is an age-old practice that’s cool again. My friend Sam in Springfield has a lovely crop of turnips, radishes, phacelia (for pollinators), kale and barley. It makes wonderful fall and winter cattle feed and in mid-October was still buzzing with bees.
We have hope that more farmers in our area will adopt the practice and stop the blowing sand that is so aggravating every spring. I look forward to that April day when the wind is crisp and clean and pure. It could happen.
|the black willows are extra pretty this year|
|Sam showing off his giant radishes and turnips|
|bees are loving it|