holding pattern

Winter sometimes wraps its arms around you and keeps you in a holding pattern… or in a rut. Which sometimes isn’t a bad thing if you need that rut to find you way to the top of the driveway when there’s a ton of slick mud or a good layer of snow and everything looks ‘flat’. Anyone who’s slid off the road would know that, not that I’m speaking from experience. It wasn’t me…really!

Snow, wind, cloudy days, a few hours of sunshine, snow, rain, wind, cold temperatures, ice, frost, wind, snow, ice, mud, icy mud, drifting snow, rain, wind, mud, snow, mud, areas of green grass, flooding, frozen mud, ice and snow… the usual transition between winter and spring. We purchased another 10 days of hay and the animals are all sick of snow. I’m sure they remember roaming about munching on grass or even the dried grasses out in the fields. The wildfire put a kink in that routine last September since the fences were all down and there were neighboring cattle wandering around looking for home. Nor did we want our cows and calves out on the road.

Work doesn’t stop around the ranch – animals still need to be fed, water tanks freed of ice or ice removed from around tanks due to the thaw/freeze/rain weather, bedding areas in the barn and coops cleaned or layered with fresh straw, and animal health and well-being monitored. Sometimes there are repairs or maintenance that needs to be done regardless of the weather.

But overall the cattle would much rather be roaming about and nibbling on grass rather than that old dried grass on top of snow. We would much rather let them ‘free-range’ on the fields rather than spend money on hay. Nature threw out the teaser that the snow was going to melt and soon things would be on their way to spring-like weather. It was exciting to see the snow start to go away a few weeks ago, but nature had other plans. Soon it will be our most favorite time of the year… the Month of Mud. Yea! The ‘mud room’ will soon live up to its name. And we’ll I will probably complain about the slop but I’m looking forward to green grass, tree buds and flower bulbs starting to emerge from their slumber. The blackbirds and robins have arrived and even in certain parts across town the doves are showing up in abundance.

We’ll envision the snow being gone while we inventory garden seeds and plot/plan what goes where and when. Cool season vegetables will be started in flats in the greenhouse and in a few weeks the peppers and tomatoes. We look forward for the arrival of boxes of bees, turkey poults, calves being born on green pastures and wildflowers. We look forward as to how the property will rebound from the wind-driven wildfire. 70% of the property burned which affected 80% of the forage. We’ll have to check fence again to be sure the repairs made held over winter before cows get to wander farther away from the house.

Most areas on the property burned quickly but there were several areas of sagebrush and weed trees that burned hot. We are hoping and praying that the pastures and fields will rebound with grasses. If they come up with ‘weeds’, well, the cows or goats will eat them. What some consider a weed is forage for another. Alice, who was sent to the abattoir at the end of last year, she loved ‘weeds’. All of our cows will eat them. Alice would keep an eye out if you ventured into the garden. If she was in the field next to it, she’d soon be up against the fence patiently waiting for you to bring her the bounty. If you weren’t paying attention, a quiet ‘moo’ would be sounded so not to draw attention. But as it would go someone out of her clan or the herd would notice. Before you could gather up an armload whole herd of cows would be there alongside of her…. waiting.

But soon those busy days will be upon us… free of snow. The bulls are cresting up, the young tom turkeys are sparring, chickens are starting to lay more eggs and the roosters are dancing. Cows are starting to shed their winter coats and the ladies are getting very round in their last trimester of pregnancy.

Hard to believe that we are about 2 weeks away from the first day of spring…. excuse me…what was that? Oh, the temperature this morning? Well, a balmy 7F. Yes, spring is on its way. 😉

Got to run… Until next time

One thought on “holding pattern

  1. Karen, we do not have near the cold that you do, but I have always dreaded the mud that comes after the rain. We have clay and iron soil here, so big red footprints follow one around.

    One the bright side, in five months we will be complaining about the heat!


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