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Category Archives: Nature and Wildlife

Battle Creek Reflections

Fall’s first reflection
of Julie in Battle Creek,
Seasons in motion.

 

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2020 in Animals, Horses, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Sangre de Cristo–Summer of Fire

Red sunrise over Sheep Mountain

Sangre de Cristo,
blood red against the sky,
smoky crimson sunrise
illuminates the dry

and murky landscape,
grey haze that turns to pink,
and throws a rosy glow
to make night’s shadows sink.

Mountains rise ephemeral,
magic light against their rock,
a brief illumination
shows their beauty with a shock.

of this pink and hazy glow
wrought by fires in the south,
fire in the sky,
and fires bred by drought.

Flames that rise and roar
and eat all before their path,
nature and man’s doings
give way before their wrath.

We watch from distant fastness
as smoky fingers curl,
long tendrils reach with greed
to menace with their swirl,

and spread a grim grey threat
to make us tear and choke.
We wear a gauzy veil
of ash and haze and smoke.

It filters through our valleys
where grass stands stiff and dry,
where leaves hang low and thirsty
beneath this pall of sky.

Tales now come to haunt us
of flames that leave a stark
and ancient calling card,
borne aloft by wind and spark.

We watch and wait and fret
that such could be our fate,
while distant matches flare,
in a tinderbox, we wait.

Such thoughts all disappear
with wonder and with awe,
as sunrise works its alchemy,
paints the country with a raw

and glowing pinkwash,
with a brief and fleeting dye.
Sangre de Cristo,
blood red against the sky.

Red sunset over Battle Mountain

 

 
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Posted by on August 22, 2020 in Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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Irrigating the Mesa

 

 

Truly, our life’s blood
water, from stream to pivot,
brings life in winter.

 
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Posted by on July 22, 2020 in Farming, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Rainbow over windrows

The gold at the end
of the rainbow, gilded hay,
summer’s rich bounty.

 
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Posted by on July 17, 2020 in Farming, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Derecho

 

And they call the wind

Derecho–intense, wide-spread

fast-moving windstorms

 


 
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Posted by on June 6, 2020 in Events, Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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Babies on the Ground

Cows and calves, Squaw Mountain

 

 

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, we have lot of new baby calves being born. We’ve had some fresh snow, but the temperatures are decent and the mamas are doing a good job. It warms the heart to see these new babies!

Ames Field

Mamas and babies

Angus cow and calf

Sandhill cranes are here too!

 
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Posted by on April 5, 2020 in Animals, Cattle, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Winter Wildlife

moose on the highway near Battle Mountain

 

 

Winter-time wildlife,
seeking shelter from the storm—
Will spring ever come?

moose at a crossroad

Antelope on the high desert steppe

antelope near Slater

 
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Posted by on February 15, 2020 in Animals, Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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Stuck

Today, Siobhan and I were on a routine drive, all within a mile of home. when we got very stuck. We were checking the horses and the cats. We followed the tractor’s tracks. Alas, we have had approximately two feet of new snow in the last couple of days, and it was actually warm. It was, by any measure, a bluebird day. This meant that the frozen trail, packed by the tractor, was mushy. Sure enough, we sunk into what I thought was a soft drift, and, ahem, spun out and became inexorably stuck.

Siobhan recalled that when gathering cattle from this meadow in sunnier days, her phone had service. I pointed out that we were close to home and could walk there in probably 15 minutes. She convinced me to walk a few hundred yards, find cell phone service, and call home for a tractor rescue.  Soon Wilber, bless him, came with the tractor to pull us out. It wasn’t as easy as I thought it might be, as we got stuck four, count em’, four more times. Finally, with a lot of plowing and pulling, we were on our way to check on Eamon and Megan’s cats, who were very glad to see us.

Bear in mind that it was 44 degrees, and we were within an easy walk of home. It was not comparable to the time that Siobhan and Pat were stuck overnight on the Red Desert, with only gritty M&Ms to sustain them. Siobhan and I did spend three hours of quality time together, and the cats were really happy when we showed up!

Siobhan finding cell phone service

the horses

Wilber to the rescue

plowing out the path

Squaw Mountain from the Lemmon’s Meadow

 
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Posted by on February 8, 2020 in Animals, Family, Folks, Horses, Nature and Wildlife

 

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Saint Francis of Ladder Ranch

Saint Francis of Ladder Ranch

 

Poor St. Francis,
he never knew such outrage in Italy:
Patron Saint of the Ladder Ranch,
animals, and the natural world.

His statue stands guard in our yard,
watching over birds, even the grouse,
the eagles, the robins, and it seems,
ravens, crows and magpies.

He looks out for cattle, sheep,
horses, dogs, and those wild critters.
our children.
He sees deer, elk, antelope.

St. Francis, please care for
the bats, the bees, and butterflies—
maybe not mosquitoes!
No patron saint for them.

So here stands his likeness,
concrete birds upon his fist.
In summer, actual bird poop
paints stigmata hands and feet.

But now, in the depths of winter,
in cold winds and drift
poor Francis stoically endures,
waist-deep in snow-white robes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2020 in Animals, Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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Nevermore

 

A murder of crows

seek treats from scrappy garbage

thinking corvid thoughts

 
 

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