Today was the first day we’ve managed to make it out into our “badlands” pastures. These are BLM lands where we run our cattle in conjunction with some other ranchers. We rotate between three pastures, using two a year, in the spring and fall. We will start moving some cattle out in a few weeks…finally some of our feeding every day will be cut back! So today we took a tour. We checked out the water situation, looking at the amount of runoff in reservoirs as well as preparing the pipeline to start running. I took Lucas and Dally with me…we take the backseat of the pickup which is covered with a piece of carpet. And we had a blast! At almost every stop we get out, explore the country, take some photos, and climb back in the pickup. Dally learns to jump into the pickup… “Get in!” She’s no explorer. She remains close to me or Lucas, always watching… Even though I’d hoped to get lots of good pics of Dally, Lucas, as usual, is the one who shines. He sits, he down/stays, he looks his gorgeous self; at times curious, other times regal. This guy was born to pose! Dally on the other hand, looks like I’ve beat her if I try to down/stay her! While as good looking as her dad, she has yet to learn to pose, and those good pics of her are ones I’ve just managed to capture in the split instant. Plus, Wyoming seems made of “Lucas colors”, those earthy shades that appeal so much to me. The dragon back formation of sandstone we crawled over today coordinated with Lucas. I’ll post a photo of our tour.
Spring has continued to come to cowboy country…We are over 3/4 done with all our calving, but, yes, there is still one stupid heifer left we still check! Grrr… makes you wish for some oxytocin! The rest of the birds seem to have slipped in…we now hear sandhill cranes clacking in the morning, bluebirds flit from cedar to sagebrush, and Vernon has heard a meadowlark trill its magic song. We had 4 inches of snow the other day and it was -2 degrees the next morning! Mother Nature reminding us this is SPRING in Wyoming. Some days start off with pleasant weather and by 9.30 it is windy and cold and miserable. I have bouts of being able to rake my yard and dispose of all of Boomer’s sticks he’s hauled into the yard all winter…plus bones and trash and leaves and poo. But then it clouds up and I retreat to the warmth of the house once again. Elsa remains in heat and I still shuffle the dogs around. Right now she’s inside snoring on her new dogbed while Lucas sleeps at the back door waiting for his princess to exit the castle. I made 3 dogbeds from fleece throws and leftover/ruined comforters. I actually could make another, but don’t have room to put it anywhere. Besides, when have I ever had all four of my dogs inside the house at once? I have missed the sharing of this blog…I think of things to write about while I drive the tractor in the morning… if I could dictate then, it would be much easier! Somehow I am letting things lapse again…I haven’t finished a book in 3 weeks and that is bad for me! I’m hoping for good evening weather to start doing some basic work with Dally… She’s my buddy for checking the Stupid Heifer, loose leash walking, sitting, waiting at the gate, and staying out of the pen. The only night she abandoned me was when 2 foxes were, ummm, “romantically involved” on the hillside above the calving shed. Their sounds were rabbit-like, which is what I thought it was at first until the bright eye of my spotlight revealed two foxes. After seeing them run off, I turned to Dally and she had fled for home! Those were scary sounds and I obviously didn’t cut it in the protector mode! I plan on doing some leash work close to the yearlings and work on some obedience with distractions! She shows me every day she’d like to be a big cowdog… but I hope to take it slow with her. My other dogs have had to be thrown in the deep end pretty fast due to working conditions… can I resist and be slow with her? I hope so…but I’m sure it will seem like forever!
Today has been one of those days where I can’t seem to focus. When I went to bed last night, the air smelled of rain, and I could have sworn it would be raining all night. I awoke to drifting snowflakes which quickly increased to steady feathers sifting down. The ground was covered in short order. It stopped at 10:00 AM and by 11:30, it had all melted. Following my trip to Ten Sleep and Lucas’ term as Reading Dog of the Day, the sun was shining and skies were blue.
My jobs were varied today. I was dog trainer with Elsa as we cleared the corral for Vernon to pour grain. I became tractor driver for Vernon as we fed the cows. I chauffered Lucas into town where I remained his assistant as he listened to his readers share books on satellites, seasons, and Charlotte’s Web. I was teacher as I explained psysanky (Ukrainian egg decorating) to the class of 3rd and 4th graders. ( I had given an egg as a gift to the teacher) I turned into a calligrapher for the superintendent’s All State Basketball certificate. I became a treasure hunter when I took my metal detector to the park and creek side for a quick dab of time. I found $1.85!!! At home again I was housekeeper and laundress and cook and now, finally, quietly…writer.
I tried to keep track of the returning birds…today I was pleased to see Rosy Finches, chickadees, Oregon juncoes, magpies, crows, rock doves (aka “stupid pigeons”), Canadian geese, ducks I couldn’t id, redwinged blackbirds, robins, mourning doves (just this evening!), ring-necked pheasants, red tailed hawk, and wonder of wonders, the blue herons have returned to the blue heron tree!!!! YAY! I await their return, along with bluebirds, to testify that spring really IS here. The bluebirds remain elusive and I haven’t heard a killdeer yet, nor nighthawk, but they will come. I should try to find my pics of the blue heron tree to share…picture an ancient cottonwood, stuffed with LARGE nests, and each rearing babies. It makes me wish for a better lens for my camera!! It is a sight to see!
I hope in short order to relax…and breathe…and refocus…and “to sleep, perchance, to dream…” and I mean sleep!
It seemed like every night I was too tired and too busy to write anything…then I had high hopes for spring break, with the boys coming home for a week, surely I could write something. Plus Victoria was coming for Easter weekend… No surprise here, nothing was done on my blog or website! With the boys home, I was relieved of feeding duty, but my cooking duties were enlarged… Nights were spent visiting with the boys or their friends and I must say it was all enjoyable. But tonight is quiet and I must play catchup.
Spring is well on its way, most of the snow is gone, birds have returned, my new used metal detector is a wonderful toy, Elsa is in heat and the dog shuffle has begun, we have 2 heifers left STILL, my boys and daughter are such JOYS to have here, creativity is high – my psysanky eggs and clay pens occupy spare moments, I seem to turn into a pyromaniac this time of year – death to weeds!, Dally got to chase some heifers for the first time, the possibilities of meeting up with old and new friends hang in the air, old photographs spur stories, the spring cleaning bug has bitten me, our windless March reversed its decision today and became a typical Wyoming BREEZEY DAY – whew!
So, the stories ARE still in me, and I’ll try again, in this quiet house, to “scratch pen to paper”, well, ok, “type” and share.
Dally looks over Greet Ranch.