I stand with the bees!
Dandelions’ sweet bounty,
Spring’s ready nectar
As we suffered through was we consider brutally hot weather (95 degrees), we were told that a huge early snowstorm was on the way. Our new cook, from Alabama, said she was terrified of winter and abruptly left. Sure enough, all over the state, roads were closed, power was off, tree branches were broken. Here’s what the storm looked like for us. Things have cooled off nicely though.
Today, we are “springing forward” in time. The transitions back and forth between Standard Time and Daylight Savings Time are always jolting. I think it’s harder than one hour jet lag because the environmental clues of sunshine and shadows don’t change. We are close to the Equinox, when daylight and nighttime hours are approximately equal. This change is subtle but real. It reflects the wheeling of the earth, sun and stars. The measurement of time is a human construct, to give us a path to capturing the vast reality of our journey through the universe. The ancients built pyramids and Stonehenge to chart this course.
We are finally, I hope, making the transition from Winter to False (or Almost) Spring. A few days ago, we woke up to zero degrees, again. For the last two or three days, daytime temperatures have been above freezing–even as high as a balmy 40 degrees! We are moving from snow everywhere to snow most everywhere, interspersed with mud. We have lots of little lambs on the ground at Powder Flat. Most of the ewes are still in the Big Horn Basin, but we are seeing the light at the end of the snow tunnel and hope to bring them home soon. Most of the cows are in Nebraska and Laramie, but we are waiting for the day when conditions improve so they can come home too. The young bulls are hanging out at Powder Flat with the early lambers. Roma poet Virgil: “fugit inreparabile tempus”, which means “it escapes, irretrievable time”.
Faithful blog followers may have noticed that posts on “Ranch News” have been fewer and more basic lately. This was largely due to technical difficulties. My faithful laptop went on to that great recycling center in the sky, and I had to learn, sort of, to post on my husband’s wonderful, but unfamiliar, Mac. When I added the new version of Photoshop Elements, I discovered that the newer and fancier upgrade was likewise unfamiliar. Hence the changes you have observed.
But all this is in the past! After much study, I purchased a new laptop. I finally gave up and called the Adobe help desk, where the nice gentleman explained to me how to revert to the familiar “Classic Editor” posting format, which makes it easy to do more editing.
My new tools allow me to resume my former style of posting lots of medium size photos, with, I hope, enlightening and witty text.
We lease grazing from the Wyoming Game and Fish Department on their Chain Lakes Wildlife Habitat Management Area northeast of Wamsutter. It is a wonderful area, with healthy rangeland. Part of our lease is an agreement to maintain historic water developments to benefit both wildlife and livestock. Here we are with Scott from Pronghorn Pumps and Matt from the Game and Fish, making plans to repair this long-time watering site.
The other day, Maeve and I were driving along in the pickup, and I was explaining the concept of “habitat.” She said, “Oh…like our family’s habitat is the ranch!”.
Ideally, this time of year, we are done shearing and are on the trail to the lambing grounds, north of Dixon. It is critical that the ewes be sheared before lambing starts, yet this is proving increasingly difficult. It has a lot to do with the really dysfunctional H2A program in the Department of Labor, which facilitates the non-immigrant program for foreign agricultural workers. For us, this includes our valued and essential Peruvian sheepherders. For the shearing contractors, it allows them to hire highly skilled and highly paid sheep shearers, mostly from New Zealand, and sometimes Australia and other countries. The program has become so unwieldy that many shearing contractors have given up, and the remaining shearing crews are having difficulty in getting the wool off the ewes in a timely manner. This has resulted in a backup throughout the sheep herds in the Rocky Mountain West, and most producers, like us, are facing shearing during lambing–a process which is difficult for shearers, sheep producers, and is very hard on the heavily pregnant or recently lambed ewes. Nonetheless, here we are trailing ewes, still in the wool, to the lambing grounds, where we pray our shearing crew will show up very soon, and we pray that we will not have a loss of lambs to pay for the incoherent federal immigration politics.