Diane Prather's columns appear in the Craig Daily Press and Saturday Morning Press. You can call her at 824-8809.
Craig Even if we didn't have a calendar, we'd know it's fall because:
• The wheat has been cut, and the fields are a golden brown.
• The leaves are starting to change color in the high country.
• The garden and flower beds are covered by tarps, rugs, gunny sacks, plastic, cardboard boxes, grain pans and other things.
• Ski areas will be open before long.
• Skiers are looking forward to the opening of ski areas.
• Two to four inches of snow have fallen above 7,000 feet.
• Trucks can be seen on the highway pulling trailers of every size of hay bales.
• Elk can be heard bugling.
• Some of the ranchers are weaning their calves.
• The car air conditioner has been switched off and the heater switched on.
• Kids have to wear their jackets when they ride the school bus in the mornings.
• Corrals have been cleaned and ranch fences repaired, all in readiness for the cows to come home.
• Apples and crabapples are ready for picking.
• After being gone all summer, barn cats have returned home, and they're hungry.
• Mama barn cats have had their second litters of kittens.
• Mice are finding their ways into barns, sheds and houses.
• Squirrels are stashing away berries, pine cones and a variety of other seeds.
• The county and state fair are over, and 4-H and FFA members are looking forward to the Stock Show.
• Tire shops are taking orders for winter tires.
• Hay stacks are being covered.
• Cattle and sheep graze hay meadows.
• Stores are being stocked with Christmas items.
• It's dark by 7:30 p.m.
• It isn't really light until 7:00 a.m.
• The list of advertised yard and garage sales is getting shorter each week.
• Daylight saving time change is just around the corner.
• Wood is being hauled in and cut up, ready for winter days.
• Christmas catalogs, some with "this may be your last catalog" messages, fill up mailboxes.
• In the evenings and early mornings, the air is filled with the scent of burning wood.
• Chimneys and stoves are being cleaned and repaired.
• Some uncovered garden plants have black leaves.
• Spiders are building webs that run from one tree to another, down from ceilings and roofs and across corners.
• Orange and camouflage colors are beginning to show up.
• Football games have replaced baseball.
• High school students are hoping snowy weather won't ruin homecoming.
• Bins of bright orange pumpkins greet customers at area grocery stores.
• The brand inspectors are gearing up for their busiest season.
• Balers, swathers, rakes and combines have been cleaned up and parked for the winter.
• Cows are being preg-tested.
• Sheep are being moved on the highway.
• Mountain scenes are changing as populations of cattle and sheep are replaced by hunters.
• Trucking companies are gearing up for the shipping season.
• Stock trailers are a common sight as horses are moved back and forth from cattle-moving areas to home ranches.
• Ranchers and livestock enjoy the last days of snow-free weather before winter feeding begins.
Diane Prather can be reached by writing to her at Box 415, Craig 81626.
Copyright Diane Prather, 2009. All rights reserved.