From Pipi’s Pasture: Working around the wet weather
If all had gone as planned, we would have moved at least one load of cows to summer pasture over the Memorial Day weekend. However, it has been a wet spring, and the pasture, at around 7,500 feet, was just too wet, and the grass wasn’t quite ready.
The snow was heavier than usual at Morapos this past winter, and so it has been slow going off. A couple of days last week, when it was stormy and we got just enough snow to cover the cars and grass here at Pipi’s Pasture, it snowed about six inches at the Morapos ranch (where my brother Duane Osborn lives) and possibly as much as eight inches on up the road at the summer pasture where we are going to move the cows.
So when Duane went up to check the pasture for us last Friday he found conditions way to muddy and slick to drive the four-wheeler into the pasture. He reported that water was running garden just everywhere, the feed was short, and there was still some snow on the north slopes.
So we postponed moving the cattle until this coming weekend and settled in to get some things done here at home (and to sneak in a little time to rest). I have plenty of work to do in the house, but I did regular weekend chores and then started to clean up outdoors. For example, I worked a little bit in the carport where we keep the grain, ride mower, and other stuff—except cars. Some of the empty flower pots that had been lined up along one wall had gotten knocked over by deer and cats during the winter. I set them back up and even tossed a few out. I picked up some stray grain sacks and the strings and tags that came off the sacks. They were simple tasks that needed to get done.
I tackled the garden and flower pots, too, which are enjoyable jobs. The weather has been a little too cool to plant the garden just yet and even pretty “iffy” when it comes to the flowers, but I planted two rows of onion sets and then planted about one third of my pumpkin patch (reasoning that the pumpkins take awhile to sprout — hopefully after frost danger is gone). What I did plant got a good soaking with this past weekend’s rain.
I’m always anxious to pot the flowers and arrange the pots around the front of the house, but with the cool weather and all, I opted to plant some of the hearty pansies and let the other plants wait inside for warmer weather.
So I worked around the wet weather, getting some chores done. Meanwhile, the cows are getting increasingly restless. Since we use the little pasture as a feedlot, there isn’t much in the way of grass on it. So after they’ve eaten morning hay and had their naps, they wander the fence lines, grazing as close to it as possible, and looking over the fence, probably with dreams of summer pasture.
The cows are alert to our movements and any noise that might indicate a change in the works. The pickup or tractor being started, activity in the back part of the corral — anything out of a cow’s “ordinary” might mean that they’re going to pasture. So I tiptoe around at afternoon chore time, trying to avoid the bawls of cows and calves as they head for the corral area. It’s the same scenario each spring, and the funny thing is that once we put them in the corral so that we can sort and load for the trip for pasture, they won’t want to load!
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.