From Pipi’s Pasture: Those perfect fall days
As I wrote this column, I heard the television weatherman say that there might be snow in the mountains. Can that be happening already — and just as I’ve been getting my mind set for some beautiful fall days?
On Labor Day we were up at the summer pasture, hooking up an electric fence. It was a beautiful, warm morning, and the cattle were lying across the hay meadow, chewing their cuds and thoroughly enjoying the day. Watching them brought back memories of similar days when my siblings and I were growing up on the ranch at Morapos.
After the cattle — all Herefords — were gathered off the forest pasture and turned into the hay meadow, Dad used to drive us to down to the meadow so we could check the herd. The ride took us down to the creek bottom. All along the way we tried to figure out which calf belonged to which cow, and we marveled that the calves stood as tall as their mothers. The bulls usually sparred, too, and sometimes took on the pickup. The day was beautiful — just like this past Labor Day — not too hot but just right. The ride around the meadow was one of my favorite things to do.
There were other memories of those perfect fall days, too. Consider these:
■ Picking apples and plums off the trees in the orchard and down by the shop.
■ The outdoors “smells” of rabbit brush and various weeds (the “smells” that if encountered today can take me back to those days).
■ The indoor “smells” of Mom’s fall canning, such as the vinegar and dill of pickling, hot peaches, hot tomatoes and so many others.
■ Checking to see if the pumpkins were ripening
■ The feel of the evening’s cool air, hinting of frost to come and a good night’s sleep.
■ The “smell” of meats, like ham and homemade wieners and sausages, when the smokehouse door was opened.
■ The sight of all of the haystacks closed up in the stack yards — all ready for winter.
■ Walking through the pasture near the house to bring in the milk cow.
■ All of the beautiful leaves that were just begging to be picked.
■ Floating leaves down the ditch that runs through the corral and playing on the rocks along the ditch.
■ Digging potatoes in the potato patch.
I remember those perfect fall days when I was a child, but I’m also looking forward to this year’s fall days at both the ranch and at Pipi’s Pasture.