From Pipi’s Pasture: It’s nearly October
This morning, when it was 30 degrees at 4:45 a.m. (then 28 degrees a couple of hours later), and the cars were covered with frost, I poured myself a cup of coffee and thought about what lies ahead in the coming months. After all, it will be October in a few days — three days, by the time this column is in print.
When it was almost daylight, I opened the front door and pushed two pans of cat food out onto the front porch. I have been feeding Bud, Patches, and some younger cats out there all summer. With the recent cooler nights, the cats are a little slower coming to food, but Bud was there. Patches doesn’t get up so early these mornings, preferring to stay in the carport, curled up in a bed of used grain sacks that have been stuffed into a tall garbage can.
That’s where I found Patches when I went to the carport a little later to measure out some grain for the corral animals. I couldn’t see her at first, because her bed is a foot or so down in the garbage can, but pretty soon, she stood up, stretched, yawned, and jumped down next to a feed pan, where I poured out yet more cat food. Bud came running, and he and Patches stood side by side, eating breakfast.
As I crossed the garden to get to the corral for morning chores, I noticed there was frost on the plants that I hadn’t covered the night before, but the pumpkins were safe under gunny sack covers. What a change in the garden from the hot days before.
The water in the corral stock tanks didn’t have ice on it, but the garden hoses were stiff. It made me think of days to come, when I’ll have to dig out the “retractable, crinkly” hose I carry to the corral in a bucket each winter day. It won’t be long until we’ll have to start using tank heaters and draining the hose we use to fill the stock tank here by the house. It won’t be long until the big stock tank at the corral freezes over. Lyle told me he polished up the hatchet I had used to cut ice last winter, then lost in the water. Remember? He also told me he hung the hatchet up where I can’t reach it.
The hummingbirds left a while back and perhaps some robins, too. As far as I know, the skunks don’t put away any food for winter, but they’re plenty active right now. The only “getting ready for winter” animal activity I’ve noticed lately is with some red ants in a hill right next to the place I park the car.
I hadn’t noticed the ant hill until a few days ago. The red ants were busy, scurrying around on top of the ant hill when I came home, parked the car, and brought the groceries into the house. That’s when I noticed them — in a big way. Some of the ants crawled up my pant legs and on up to my arms. It was the burning sensation that got my attention! I still have some of the little pink spots on my skin which are irritating, indeed!
October is upon us, and with it come the changes of the season!
So much for the models that predicted a cool, wet summer for us here in western Colorado — at least I think it’s hot this July. Ranchers are probably relieved that it’s been a good haying season, and after the cool spring, it’s nice to have a “normal” summer, but it is indeed hot.