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Monthly Archives: March 2017

March

Squaw Mountain with mist

 

 

In like a banshee,
Be wary—the Ides of March
And out like a mist.

Battle Mountain with mist

 
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Posted by on March 31, 2017 in Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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The Sage Grouse Strut

Grouse with the ladies
from the Craig Daily Press

The Sage Grouse Strut

It’s the Sage Grouse strut,
It’s the Sage Grouse stroll,
It’s the Sage Grouse hustle,
We boys are on a roll.

To impress our feathered friends,
we puff and shoot the breeze,
hootin’, “Hey there, ladies—
you’re some fancy chickadees!”

I can thrust my chest out—
like two shiny pearly shields,
I can waggle spotted tail feathers
in these sagebrush springtime fields.

I can flap my grousy wings
with a fancy dancey fly–
that bird with ruffled plumage
can’t even flutter to the sky.

Ten males vying for the attention of the hens

“Hey girls, look here at Big Bird–
Do you like what you see?
I’m the coolest guy out here—
Hey darlin’ chickies, pick me!”

“Just smell that spicy sagebrush,
(you can quit your hiding place)
the hen party should be over,
It’s me you must embrace!

“You may be small and brown,
but you’re winsome as can be–
shake your bootie over here
and make some eggs with me.

“Just ignore that moulty bird
with his wimpy rooster tail.
Take a brushy stroll with me
along this sagey trail.

Antelope hanging out with the grouse

“I’m a’stompin’ and a’struttin’
upon this crowded lek.
Forget your frumpy henfriends—
I’m at your call and beck.

“I’m the coolest cockerel–
see that rooster over there
can hardly puff his chest out,
He’s only suckin’ air.

“That chicken who is struttin’
and a’prancin’ through the sage
couldn’t hardly get a date
if he was dancin’ on a stage,

“and that struttin’ fool you see
is nothin’ but a poult.
if you study him real close
he’s about to start to moult.

“Don’t even take a look–
that cocky dude is not the best.
He’ll love ya and he’ll leave ya
with chicks tucked in the nest.

“Just ignore those other birds,
with their inferior display,
I’m the ace who offers
the best sort of DNA.

“I’m the best grouse on the lek,
I’m a struttin’ fool, you see–
so take the Sage Grouse stroll
through the scented brush with me!

“It’s the Sage Grouse strut
It’s the Sage Grouse dance,
Step right up, you sexy hen,
it’s time for Grouse romance!”

Teacher Cindy Cobb and Wildlife Biologist Tony Mong answer third grade students’ questions. during Greater Sage Grouse field trip. Photographer Noppadol Paothong from the Missouri Department of Conservation documents it all. That ‘s Maeve on the lower right in the pink coat.

 

 

 

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Lambs on the ground

Mama ewe on the alert

 

 

It must be spring! We’ve got lots of baby lambs on the ground. We lamb the purebred Hampshires and Rambouillets in March at Powder Flat. These babies grow up to be rams and replacement ewes, and a few will even become 4-H lambs.

Thanks to our great crew–Edgar, Luis, Uribe and David for all your hard work and long nights. Now we pray for warm rains and green grass.

Home on the hay pile

morning in the corral

Rhen with a crossbred lamb

Rhen watching Luis on the run

NOT wanting to lie down with the lion

 
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Posted by on March 27, 2017 in Animals, Sheep

 

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Sage chickens–sort of

chickens at Chain Lake

So just when you think you’ve seen it all…

A couple of days ago, Pepe called Meghan at the cookhouse. He is tending sheep on our permits on the Red Desert. I heard Meghan say, “gallinas?! domesticados?!” (chickens?! domesticated?!).

Apparently, someone turned loose some hens and one rooster. Meghan called the BLM Range Conservationist, who tried, unsuccessfully, to catch them. The Chain Lakes allotment is checkerboard, with the Wyoming Game and Fish Department owning every other section. Mike, the Range Con, then turned the matter over to the Game and Fish.

They are fowl, if not fish.

What’s amazing is that they haven’t been eaten by coyotes!

 
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Posted by on March 22, 2017 in Animals, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Waiting for the green

Cows at Powder Flat

 

 

Waiting for the green

Snow melt seeps and soaks the roots

Of summer’s bounty

finding the burrs

plenty to eat

 
 

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’till the cows come home, and baby calves on the ground

Casey, Taylor and Chad supervising unloading the cows

Each winter, we send many of our cows to Laramie to be wintered by our friends, the Spieglebergs. They raise a lot of hay at their high altitude ranch and give great care to our cows. Now it is time for them to come home, so they are arriving, one truckload at a time.

In the meantime, we are seeing new calves on the ground. We’ve had some scary weather with high winds and low temperatures, but for the present, we have bare meadows, warmish days and nights, and a lot of fun overseeing the new babies.

coming home

Meanwhile, back at the mud puddle–Maura, McCoy and Tiarnan

Siobhan watching the cows cross the bridge, headed for the Lemmons pasture

Cows and baby calves in the Ames Field

Black baldie mama

hanging out in the Lemmons Place

 

 

 

To lamb or not to lamb, that is the question

If it’s March, it must be time to pregnancy test. We breed the best of our Rambouillet ewes to Rambouillet rams, thereby ensuring a new crop of replacement ewe lambs, as well as their brothers/cousins. Since purebred whiteface lambs are more vulnerable at birth, especially the twins, we pregnancy check the moms so that the ewes carrying twins can lamb in the sheds. The rest of the Rambouillet ewes are bred to our Hampshire rams. Their lambs have hybrid vigor and usually do fine with drop lambing on the range. Our friend Geri Parsons from Optimal Livestock Services comes up each March at mid-pregnancy to check the ewes and call out “single”, “twins”, “open” and even “triplets”. Meghan and her crew appropriately marked the ewes with a paint dab on their heads to signify their status for later sorting. Geri usually braves chill winds and long drives for several days to accomplish this task. Here’s some photos of this year’s pregnancy checking.

Ewes, waiting for the verdict

Pepe at the chute, Geri’s office in the tent

 

It was REALLY MUDDY!!!

Chris bringing up the ewes

Pregnancy testing crew–Sam the Border collie, Modesto, Maeve, Meghan, Pepe, Tiarnan, Geri, Chris

 

the view from Eagle’s Nest, looking east

 

 

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