March is here, but still thinks it’s winter. Lander Lil (Wyoming’s version of Puxatawny Phil) definitely saw her shadow, maybe two shadows on Prairie Dog Day. All our sheep are close to the Red Desert winter camp. Usually, they are separated by many miles on our winter BLM grazing permits. This year, we asked for an emergency declaration so that they can stay close to the corn and hay which is sustaining them. Most years, we only give corn until about February 1st, when most of the ewes have been bred. This year, we see no end in sight, although we are hopeful. We, the sheepherders and the sheep are all happier when they are out walking around and grazing. In the meantime, we bring feed in on the one plowed road into the permit.
Home Sweet Home
The County plows the road just far enough.
Ewes, lambs within,
stand with wooly backs to the wind,
withstanding the snow and blow.
We can get in behind the plows
with corn and hay, every few days.
Brave men, up from Peru,
Struggle through the snow
and spread the feed, while we venture
along roads, slick with ice, no visibility,
bringing food, wood, water, feed.
Antelope mill in ever larger herds,
hanging along the roads,
grass covered by endless drifts.
Winter, relentless in exacting its toll.
I hope they stay off the railroad tracks.
The BLM says move the sheep,
too many days along that plowed road,
huddled among the hard-drifted snowbanks.