From Pipi’s Pasture: Finding bare ground | CraigDailyPress.com

From Pipi’s Pasture: Finding bare ground

Diane Prather/For Craig Press

Yesterday afternoon when I stepped off the front porch and headed to the corral to do the chores, I noticed that Patches, the multicolored cat, was sitting on a spot of bare ground a few feet away from the porch. Another cat was sitting on a bare spot of lawn. Both spots were where snow had been moved with the snow blower earlier. The morning had been delightfully warm for a change, and the snow melted while I was indoors.

I know how good the cats must have felt to touch bare ground again. I walked over and stood on the spot with Patches. It brought back memories of growing up on the ranch. When the county road began to melt off, my sisters and I took off our boots and stepped on every bare spot as we walked home from school.

Yay! As I walked to the carport to measure out the grain, I found more bare ground, even some mud, and the path to the big gates was slushy.

Today, the weatherman on the noon news announced that a big storm is headed this way (already causing problems along the west coast). Undoubtedly, there is still a lot of winter in store, but lately, there have been signs that spring might not be so far away.

For example …

• Over the past two days, some water has been standing in the corral and around the stock tank.

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• The snow drift hill at the corral is getting soft enough for me to break through when I walk on it.

• The path along the corral has widened out and isn't so slick.

• The snow that crept down off the roof and formed an outside valance along our big front room window finally fell off , and here and there, smaller amounts are falling off the roof making loud "plops!"

• A three-foot-long icicle fell off the roof of the storage shed in the backyard.

• Bare ground is showing through where there are tractor tire prints and where snow has been blown or plowed.

• The male cats are fighting at night, their seasonal ritual.

• Bud and Patches are inseparable once again.

• The sparrows land in bunches on the feedlot and in the corral, where they hunt for seeds in the hay and grain that got scattered around.

• Many of the cows are feisty, perhaps because of their elevated "mother-to-be hormones."

• After eating hay, the cows enjoy their naps in the sunshine; in late afternoon, they wander around Pipi's Pasture, more of a warm weather thing to do.

The past couple of days have been delightful — enough to get us through another big snowstorm, should the forecast prove to be correct.