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Winter on Powder Rim

Ewes and bucks

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2017 in Animals, Sheep

 

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Cattle in winter

Black baldies before the snow

heifers on the feed line

winter feedline

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2017 in Animals, Cattle

 

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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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Romance on the ides of December

Avencio unloading the bucks

 

The ides of December means that it’s time to put the rams in with the ewes. Romance in December brings lambs in May. A sheep’s gestation is five months less five days. I wish we could predict now just when the shearers will arrive and what the weather will be like on the 10th of May.

on their way…

Bucks in their working clothes

romance is in the air

Guard dog checking out his new charges

 

 
 

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The dwindling dinner party

unloading the corn

 

Every year we buy several loads of corn to feed to the ewes on the desert. We will put the rams in with the ewes in a couple of days, and it is important that their nutrition is optimal. Nothing is better than corn for flushing the ewes. In late November, we had the first load of corn delivered. Now, in almost mid-December, that load is almost gone, but the ewes have found it very tasty and nutritious.

LOTS of corn!

two weeks later…

 
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Posted by on December 13, 2017 in Events, Folks, Folks who help us out

 

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Doings on the Red Desert

Pat and Guillermo surveying the desert

Leo and Luis–twins separated at birth

Which one of these is not like the other–flaring from new drilling in Chain Lakes

 
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Posted by on December 12, 2017 in Family, Folks, Peruvian sheepherders

 

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North to the Red Desert

ewes heading for the Rodewald gate

The ewes have made their annual trek north to the Red Desert, where we have wintering ground on the Cyclone Rim and Chain Lakes grazing allotments. These allotments are part of the vast Great Basin, home to Greater Sage Grouse, desert elk,  riparian plants and amphibians, feral horses, many many antelope and, part of the year, cattle and sheep. The Great Basin is named because it is a closed basin. To the north, the Continental Divide splits and runs in separate ranges until it meets again about 15 miles south of Wamsutter near the Haystack Mountains. The country south of there–Church Butte, Adobe Town, Powder Rim–is likewise amazing landscape, but it is not part of the Great Basin, the Red Desert. It is always a relief when we safely cross the overpass over the Union Pacific line and the underpass beneath I80 and head out across the open country for winter pasture. We are a week later than usual on the trail north. We had to wait for snow, since there’s not much water on the trail. Like Goldilocks, we want it to be not too hot and not too cold!

 

the sheep topping the UP overpass

between the tracks and I80

Almost to the underpass

under the interstate

passing the Department of Transportation shed

Pat and Oscar consulting

new drilling on Chain Lakes

on the Red Desert, at last

 

 

 
 

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