From Pipi’s Pasture: One hot summer, Part II
July 19, 2018
Last week's column offered remembrances of the summer of 2002, when it was horribly hot and dry at Pipi's Pasture and elsewhere in Moffat County. The grasshoppers were plentiful, too, making the hot, dry weather even more miserable.
By June 1, we had moved the cattle to Morapos Creek to spend the summer. They were on the first of two parcels of land, and this first pasture was dependent on ponds for water. Since it was so dry that summer, we kept an eye on the water situation.
One morning, I drove up to the pasture and checked out the last of three ponds to have water in it. I was shocked to find only a small pool of water left in the pond. The cattle were nearly out of water. I walked back to the car and called Cindy, our daughter-in-law. (She and our son, Jody, and grandchildren lived north of Craig at that time, and some of the cattle on pasture were theirs.)
Hauling water out to their place was part of Cindy's weekly routine, so the family had a water tank in the pickup truck already. Cindy somehow loaded up a big stock tank and drove out to the summer pasture.
Over the next several days, Cindy kept the stock tank filled with water she hauled from Craig. By the weekend, both our sons, Jody and Jamie, and their families were able to help, and we gathered the cattle from the brush on the pasture and moved them across the road, where they could drink from the creek.
While the cattle were being gathered, the grandchildren, young kids then, played with grasshoppers that covered the surface of the water on the stock tank. Grasshoppers were thick in the pasture areas and on the county road. I remember wondering where the grasshoppers were headed, because they were walking down the county road.
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After the cattle were settled on the new pasture, we moved the stock tank to Dad's house. Dad
(the late Kenneth Osborn) lived down under a little hill and got his water from a well/spring next to the house. With the dry weather, the water had dried up, so we put the tank at the top of the hill and filled it with water, and Dad attached a hose to the tank and used it to fill up the well or spring so he had water for household use. (I'm not sure exactly what he filled up — whatever it was, it worked.)
What I remember most about that summer was the stock tank at Dad's house. It ended up serving as an oasis for wild animals. Deer drank from it, and since there was a tiny hole in the side of the tank, even small animals, such as birds, rabbits and skunks, got a drink there, too.
The other thing I remember about the dry summer of 2002 was a big grasshopper that landed on my windshield while I was up at summer pasture. I named him "Hitchhiker Harry," because the grasshopper rode all the way home to Pipi's Pasture on the windshield before jumping off. Someday, I will write a story about Hitchhiker Harry's adventures.