Friday, March 4, 2011

Winter Herding and Smashed Fingers

Return of Winter as March arrives
February seems to have blown by in a series of storms. Some left us wet and muddy. Others brought sharp cold, the benches bright with winter sun. Greys and browns returned to dominate the landscape. Buds went dormant on the trees. It felt like the sap had sucked back underground, and the memory of buttercups in January seemed incredulous.

Mike got the calves through weaning in good shape. High winds, icy roads and mud made tricky hauling for a few loads of hay headed to the river from our barn on Prairie Creek. He worried about wet corrals, but the ground dried out enough between storms to get us through.

Looking across to Haas Ridge
We're still dealing with open fences across the river, which means we have to gather stragglers every week and bring them home. When the temps warm up, the grass perks up and suddenly the birds are singing again and spring seems possible.

Down road off Pack Saddle
It's been a yo-yo kind of winter in the canyons. Cold. Warm. Wet. Dry. Frozen. Thawed. Ice. Mud. Not so unusual, except for the fluctuation. Sixty degrees in January and below zero at end of February.

It's helped a lot to have Zeke around to heft loads of hay and Gabe has been coming down to help with the outhouse project and the ever-present fence jobs. And now Dawson wants to get involved.

Fence stretcher
The day we put the new gate in on the Hall place, Dawson marched over to the fenceline. He put his hands on his hips, looked over the half crib and said, "You guys need some help?" After he messed with the fence stretcher for a while, he switched to a hammer. He had a great two-hand swing. Unfortunately he tried out a one-hand swing and landed the hammer head square on the nail of his other pointer finger.Ow.
Two-hand hammer
After the tears a band-aid felt good
As his dad said, "Just in time for the trip to the beach." Luckily by the time they left a few days later, pointer finger was back on duty. 

From Sara at Magpie Ranch home of Bunchgrass Beef