Sunday, June 5, 2016

Merry Month of May

Licorice vanilla is how the locust blossoms smell, at least that is how someone once described them to me. I agree. But they also smell like something else I recognize, something ephemeral at the edges of memory, from my childhood in Germany perhaps, something that was not a locust blossom. And I find myself wanting to compare them to that evanescent fragrance, a smell with velvet texture, like these sprays of locust blooms jostling the wind.

Black locusts
Lushness has invaded the river bars. We let the cows and calves come down to the river to graze after several months spent mostly on the benches. 

Mike shared some of the results of his recent utilization monitoring. He said the quantity of plants consumed by the cattle was less than he expected. The monitoring is part of our conservation efforts and helps us tell if our management decisions are accomplishing our goals.

My favorite rangeland ecologist
Monitoring quadrat

There is a reason this story has a picture of an onion, well, three onions to be exact.  The reason is that here it is May and these onions have been hanging in the basement waiting to be eaten for eight months and they are still beautiful and delicious. The last of the onions.  

Amazing Spanish red onions

It's easier to understand why there is a rattlesnake in this story. I uncovered the first snake of the year while mowing the yard. Heath stopped by soon after I found the snake (by mowing over top of him) and did me the favor of pitching him in the river to swim away. Encounters like these motivate me to mow the yard frequently.

Snake uncovered by mower
Great weather for the branding
We branded the last Sunday of May and had a great crew of helpers.  Mike's dad and step-mom came for a visit and it was their first time ever at a branding.

Pete ready to keep the cows on the road.
Gabe bringing in the last of the cows

Nice bull calf
Amalesh, Mike, Mike, Paul and Luke
Back with mom

The branding went smoothly and it was nice to get in a lot of visiting before most folks made the trek back to the valley. We had plenty of time for feasting, water fights and laying in the hammock. 

Mike, Paul, Justin, Annie

Wes, Cammie avoiding the water fight
Water fight! 
Barb relaxes at the fishing hole

Dawson talked us into letting James spend the night. They spent the evening fishing at the bridge abutment, swinging in the hammock, roasting marshmallows and threatening various accidents involving flaming sticks, followed by baths to remove numerous layers of stickiness and filth before going to bed.

James, Dawson and Wes, three peas in a pod 

All in all, a very good and mostly merry month of May. 

From Sara at Magpie Ranch, home of Bunchgrass Beef