Sunday, December 30, 2012

Winter Ranging

Mike scythes a path for the new fence upriver
Winter work is lining out for the year. Upriver along the bar, right through a big patch of poison oak is where we are building the new fence. The old fence, was across the river. It worked pretty good, but the neighbor took it out for fishing access. Mike crossed the river in waders and spent two hours with his custom hand scythe brushing a path through the poison oak .I will be really glad when that fence is built and it is easier to keep the herd where we want them to be.

Jon and Mike crossing back for another load of steel posts

Mike and Jon Rombach ferried the steel posts over using a guide rope and Jon's pontoon boat. It took both of them to keep the boat from swamping in the current.

Jon ferries a batch of posts to the lower section
They got the posts across in one day, which was good because the next day the river rose to 3,000 cubic feet per second, flood stage.
Cammie and Gabe packed out salt

After Christmas, Gabe and Cammie, Dawson and Wes surprized Mike and I by coming down to help for a few days.  It was Weston's first trip to the river. He reminds me of Mike's brother Bill.
Weston looks like he has Uncle Bill's dimple

Cammie and Gabe rode and packed salt while Mike and I took the boys upriver to work on gates. The cattle were glad to get the salt and it will help encourage their distribution across the range.

There was time for a fishing lesson, but Dawson soon took up exploring for snails, empty snake holes, bones and rocks. Gabe and Mike didn't catch anything either.

Dawson on the old bridge abutment
Fishing below the bridge
In January we'll be weaning calves. Herding cattle. Building fence. There are already green sprouts in the sheltered places, and the cold doesn't seem as cold as usual. Will it be a mild winter? Will we see spring earlier than usual?

I love winter in the canyon, because I love being in the canyon. This year, it feels different. I find myself wondering already about summer, remembering the drought we just went through, and not wanting it to come again.

By Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef