From Pipi’s Pasture: Suddenly it is May
After a winter that I can best describe as “strange,” suddenly it is May. Well, actually it is the middle of May. It seems to me that the weather has turned warm (warm enough to leave a window open) just in the last few days, and suddenly I’m reflecting on what’s going on as we transition from spring into summer. Certainly there’s a lot to enjoy.
• The sun is up pretty early now, making it easier to go outdoors to do the chores.
• Chore time has changed from a two-coat morning to a one-jacket morning.
• Since it is no longer so cold at night, I have been able to stretch a long hose to the far corral, leave it out at night, and not have to carry my bucket of retractable hoses back and forth; however, sometimes the hose spits out ice when I turn the water on.
• It’s warm enough in the daytime to leave the door and one or more windows open.
• The leaves are finally starting to come out on the trees, and I have spotted buds on the lilac bushes.
• Although it isn’t unusual to see killdeer birds around Pipi’s Pasture, they seem to be especially abundant this May, noticeable for their “killdee, killdee” song.
• The robin from last week’s column is still “fluffing” around in her nest, and I can’t tell if she is caring for eggs or chicks.
• The tulips are blooming, and I’m anxious to get started potting flowers.
• I have heard the soft meowing of kittens in the bushes but have not taken the time to investigate.
• A few miles down the road, a nice herd of antelope grazes on pasture, and today five deer, looking kind of rough, came up the lane to our yard, probably looking for browse.
• The county road crew is busy working on rural roads.
• Lyle just finished mowing the yard lawns for the first time this season.
• Area ranchers have finished harrowing the hayfields and are starting irrigation water.
• Snow is still melting in the high country, and our summer cow pasture, typically late to bare off is drying out, and grass is starting to grow.
• The corrals have dried out, and boots have been set aside—unless it rains a lot again.
• Most ranchers have finished branding; we have yet to get it done.
• The hoses have been laid out; it’s time to water trees and lawns.
• It’s about time to get the garden planted.
• The cows and calves are spending time standing around the stock tanks, much as they stand around ponds on summer pasture.
• In the mornings the cows have their heads pointed “up country.” They know it’s about time to leave for summer pasture.
One thing is for sure — we need to enjoy the next few months because when you think about it, colder weather isn’t that far away.
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.