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Tag Archives: winter

Life in the North

ewes in the Bighorn Basin

Faithful blog readers know that due to extreme winter conditions in the Red Desert, our usual wintering ground, we have trucked most of our ewes north to the sugar beet fields in Wyoming’s Bighorn Basin. The Bighorn Basin is several hundred miles to the north of us, almost to the Montana border, but is also several thousand feet lower, and less snowy. We have some ewes who experienced “early conception,” probably due to a rogue buck lamb who escaped docking. At Powder Flat, we are set up for shed lambing (usually in March) and have a great crew. Pat and I went up to visit the ewes and herders, and to collect the pregnant ewes and bring them home to lamb. The Bighorn Basin is also experiencing an unusually snowy winter, though for them it is several inches of snow, not several feet. We have a good crew there too–Pepe, Modesto, Alejandro and Joel. It’s a long ways from home, but has feed available for the ewes.

ewes near Burlington

Border collie on the job

Tres Amigos

pregnant ewes ready to load

Modesto and Pepe

Home at last

Dogs give a welcome home

 
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Posted by on February 16, 2020 in Animals, Dogs, Family, Folks, Peruvian sheepherders, Sheep

 

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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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Winter Walk

Tiarnan and Rhen

Tiarnan and Rhen

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2020 in Family, Folks

 

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The ones who stayed behind (click on the link)

IMG_0806

 
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Posted by on January 17, 2020 in Animals, Nature and Wildlife, Sheep

 

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Image

Gimme Shelter

 
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Posted by on December 30, 2019 in Animals, Cattle

 

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Triangulation

Ewes at Laclede

 

Ewes and rams still standing in a triangle,
Too much snow to go out to graze.
Cake this morning, but not moving
out to that brushy hill not so far away.
Tomorrow—cake, then hay,
then out to that hillside with dry grass,
low brush. Food and shelter.
Time to move from the triangle,
spread like stars seeking space.
 
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Posted by on December 26, 2019 in Animals, Nature and Wildlife, Poetry, Sheep

 

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Almost Solstice

morning contrail over Sheep Mountain

 

 

Winter solstice seeks
Southern-most arc of sunrise,
craving darkness‘ end .

almost solstice sunrise

 
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Posted by on December 19, 2019 in Events, Nature and Wildlife, Poetry

 

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