From Pipi’s Pasture: May is done in Pipi’s Pasture
It has been a strange spring: nothing serious — just out of the ordinary. It started out during calving season. The cows had big calves this year — some really big — and one cow had a really small calf. We don’t know why. We used the same bulls as before. But, thankfully, we didn’t have any calving problems and no scours or enterotoxemia, either. We did have to bring some calves into the shop to get warm, but we expected that, since we calved in February.
Then, we had some of the corral cattle escape into the garden and hay yard that is fenced off from the rest of Pipi’s Pasture. The pole corral fence is along one side of this area. In 18 years, we have never had an animal escape the corral. This year, we had several get out.
First, a calf crawled through a space between corral poles — at least twice. Some panels had to be placed beside this part of the fence. That fixed the problem, but then one day we saw a cow and two calves in the garden area. They had somehow gotten the chain up on the gate and pushed their way out. The cow isn’t on the small side, either.
Then, a few days after branding, I went to the corral in the morning to find a fat steer out by the hay bales. This time, the escape route was a hole left when a bull shattered some corral poles to get away from another bull. Not having time to fix the fence just then, we quick-repaired the fence with a panel. The problem was that the panel was used on branding day, and when it was put back, the bottom part wasn’t completely secured.
Eighteen years and no escapes from the corral into the garden/hay yard area, and this year, a cow, two calves and a fat steer decided to get out!
Two weeks ago, when we moved cattle to summer pasture, the cows went right into the corral, loaded up with little fuss, and marched through the gate at summer pasture without orders from us. It was great but certainly out of the ordinary.
There are out-of-the-ordinary examples concerning other animals, too. The hummingbirds show up here at Pipi’s Pasture in May. They buzz around the flowers and seem to remember where we hang the nectar feeders. After a while — maybe a couple of weeks — they take off (possibly for the higher elevations) and don’t return until late summer. This year, the hummingbirds didn’t show up, though my brother Duane says they’re up at the ranch.
A couple of weeks ago, Duane was mowing the lawn at the ranch. He noticed a cat was playing with something. When he went to investigate, he found a 30-inch rattlesnake. Though there are rattlers in the Morapos area, it is the first time — ever — that one has been spotted in the yard. Go figure!
On a positive note, in spite of the dry conditions, everything has been pretty and green. The blossoms on the lilac, cherry, apple, crabapple, honeysuckle and chokecherry trees have been stunning, some of the prettiest in memory.
Sadly, they are almost done. So is May.
About a week ago I was rolling a bale of hay down past the loading dock of the corral so that I could throw hay over the fence. Right there in the path was some rhubarb. It isn’t that the rhubarb hadn’t been there before, but I thought it had died out during the drought. It isn’t easy to get water to that location. The rhubarb is nice and tender, and I’m determined to use it up before the stalks get tough. So I hunted up my rhubarb recipes.