Summer officially started Friday, and while each Northwest Colorado summer is a little different from the previous one, there are the usual signs that we’re into the season. This week’s “From Pipi’s Pasture” is a list of some of these signs:
■ Mornings are so cool that we hunt up our jackets, but by 9 a.m., we’re wearing short-sleeved shirts.
■ Daytime temperatures are hot, and the wind blows way too often.
■ Everyone’s hoping that the danger of frost has passed.
■ The hills are ablaze with color, especially yellow, as summer flowers are in bloom.
■ Weeds are growing faster than the garden plants.
■ Ranchers are just about finished spraying noxious weeds and are getting ready to put up the hay.
■ Irrigation of hay meadows is coming to an end.
■ Because of the wind, watering lawns and gardens sometimes is a challenge.
■ Lots of different varieties of insects are out, and cattle and horses can be seen swatting at flies.
■ When gardeners get together, they share methods used to discourage deer from eating up their garden plants, trees and flowers.
■ Robins check out recently watered lawns and gardens for worms.
■ Farm implement dealers are into their busy season, repairing hay equipment and ordering parts.
■ Ranch wives “run” to the implement dealerships to pick up parts.
■ Cattle and sheep, already out on pasture for a while now, are being moved to other pastures.
■ Pickup trucks pull stock trailers loaded with horses as ranchers ride with livestock and put out mineral.
■ Water trucks drive to ponds on dry land pastures, filling them with water for sheep and cattle.
■ Ranch cats are working on their second litter of kittens.
■ Skunks and raccoons visit ranch homes at night in search of food and water.
■ The farmer’s market is in full swing.
■ FFA and 4-H members are thinking about the upcoming fairs and sometimes wetting their cattle down in the daytime to encourage hair growth.
■ Steaks, hamburgers, hotdogs and ribs are on the menu.
■ The rancher’s dinnertime often is late due to haying.
■ Everyone keeps an eye out for smoke — it’s fire season.
■ Allergies flare up, due to pollen, smoke and dust that are in the air.
■ Deer and elk have their young with them as they graze in pastures and hay fields.
■ Ranch supply stores stock plenty of insect and weed sprays/dusts and baling twine.
■ The summer reading program is on at the library.
■ It’s common to hear lawnmowers running, and water sprinklers run at all hours.
■ Ranch cats try to beat the heat by sprawling out under trees and even on top of a hose that’s running (because it’s cool).
■ Kids are hoping that it won’t be too dry to have a fireworks show on the Fourth of July.
■ The city pool is a good place to cool off.
■ People make plenty of iced tea and take bottled water with them wherever they go.
It’s summer in Northwest Colorado!