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Category Archives: Nature and Wildlife

Christmas sunset, Sheep Mountain

photo by Chis Abel

 

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2017 in Family, Folks, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Year’s End haiku

Solstice sunset at Powder Flat

The sun swings southward
rising now just past the slope
of Flattop Mountain.

Solstice bringing short
days and long nights, at long last
finding its nadir,

And now, blessedly,
it will not seek a further
dark’ning nor shrinking

Of sunshine, daylit
hours. Now begins a dawning–
first gleams further north.

As light grows longer
morning shine extending time
and dusk now later

And later each day,
the world breathing in, and out
since Fall equinox

Led the moon and stars,
turning day into darkness,
stealing time each turn

Of the earth around
the sun, then leaning away
each revolution.

The pole star blazing
earlier as each nighttime
stole hours of sunshine.

Now we begin the
pendulum swinging northward,
toward the springtime,

It seeks a turning
Away from the magnet pull
That drew it southward.

Now the poles reverse
Morning’s rays creeping northward
Toward Sheep Mountain,

Toward equinox
when the heaven’s days and nights
will become equals.

But for now, solstice
in the winter, in the cold times
end times, renewal

We don’t sacrifice
animals. We don’t light fires
and burn Yuletide logs

Though we string shining
ropes that glitter and sparkle,
that glisten and glow

Yet we count the hours
for we know the sun returns
and the nighttime shrinks.

Our superstitions
replaced by certain science
daylight will rebound

Instead we sing songs
of praise, and adulation–
the birth of our Lord

Heralding the time
when the rising of the sun
fulfills the promise

Of the infant child
whose birth, foretold by shepherds,
attended by beasts

By cows, by donkeys,
by sheep bleating in the night
calling to the Babe

And we know by faith
and by our experience
that daylight returns.

So in the meantime
we sing and we celebrate,
this blessed season.

 
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Posted by on December 21, 2017 in Animals, Cattle, Events, Nature and Wildlife, Poetry, Sheep

 

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Snow Day

Maeve, Rhen and Tiarnan building the first snowman of the season

 

 

Rhen and Maeve making snow angels

Tiarnan’s snow angel

 
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Posted by on November 19, 2017 in Events, Family, Folks, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Lucky Day

We were lucky and the heifer was lucky

 

Eamon and Meghan went up to the Routt Forest to check on the cattle and the Big Red Fire. Through absolute luck, they found this heifer, who had gotten stuck in a soaphole in Little Red Park. They weren’t able to pull her out with their horses, but were able to get close enough with the pickup to finally rescue her.

 
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Posted by on August 30, 2017 in Animals, Cattle, Family, Folks, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Fire in the Park

Fire north of Big Red Park

Aerial Mapping puts Big Red Fire at 529 acres

(STEAMBOAT SPRINGS, Colo.)  August 29, 2017 – A helicopter flight over the Big Red Fire today gave fire personnel a more accurate view of the incident size and as a result the fire is now being reported at 529 acres.

The fire has grown over the last few days due to timely winds, group and single-tree torching, and then subsequent short to mid-range spotting of the fire into unburned areas on the Routt National Forest.

Despite the large increase in reported acreage, management of the wildfire remained the same as it has been, with emphasis on firefighter and public safety, utilizing trigger points to engage the fire where there is a high probability of success, and monitoring fire behavior. This management approach is consistent with other recent area fires in similar fuel types.

The main focus of 70 personnel working the fire has been to utilize Forest Roads 500, 500.1B, and 500.1A to establish fire line along the southern boundary of the fire.

Private land near Big Red Park and an active Forest Service timber sale (Blue Duck Salvage) could be at risk if the fire moves south.

An area closure remains in place, temporarily closing part of the 500 Road and its’ subsequent spur roads, as well as Forest Trail 1204.1A.

The Big Red Fire was discovered on Saturday, Aug. 19 in north Routt County, Colo. It is burning in mixed conifer, which includes spruce, fir, pine, and both live and bug-killed timber.

The wildfire is located just north of Big Red Park, along Forest Road 500, and approximately five miles south of the Colorado/Wyoming state line.

It has been determined that the fire was caused by lightning, with initial response by Forest Service and County staff.

Although unplanned, wildfires such as the Big Red Fire have the potential to reduce hazardous fuels and improve forest health.

InciWeb will be used as the primary means of information distribution for the Big Red Fire. An incident page will be updated at https://inciweb.nwcg.gov/incident/5551/. The Forest Twitter account, @FS_MBRTB, will also be used for fire updates.

Our crew headed into the trees to look for cows and calves

Smoke rising

double blazes

Siobhan capturing photos of the fire

Fire crew headed out for the night

 

 

 

Casey and Kimmy and cows likewise headed out

Sunset over the Big Red Fire

 

 

 

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The Big Red Park Fire

smoke plumes rise east of Big Red Park

The National Forests near us are filled with dead Lodgepole pines, killed by pine beetles over the past decade or so. The trees are long past the “red and dead” stage and are now at the gray and falling over stage. Much of the Medicine Bow and Routt Forests are a tinderbox. We want to see a number of smaller burns instead of a great conflagration.

A few days ago, our range conservationist on the Routt contacted us to let us know of a small fire on an adjacent grazing allotment. We went up and moved our cows away from the fire area. We are praying for moderate weather and no rain. My Dad was a great believer in fire as a range management tool. He may have sent that lightening bolt!

This fire could do our Forest a lot of good and literally “clear out the deadwood”.

 

 
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Posted by on August 27, 2017 in Cattle, Events, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Almost Eclipse

Leaf stipled shadow

Ninety-eight percent,
turns out isn’t mostly dim,
but sorta smoky

Like those brush fire days
when blazes light up the range
and wind blows our way,

Dimming the mountains.
I expected more twilight–
maybe a few stars.

Still—through the glasses,
the moon slid over the sun,
leaving a crescent.

It grew chill, and still,
and leaf shadows lay stipled.
Not Totality.

 

Squaw Mountain at 11:03 a.m.

Squaw Mountain at 11:21 a.m.

11:38 a.m. “Totality”

Siobhan and lamb, ready for the eclipse!

 

 

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