Pipi’s Pasture: So, now it’s October …
October came in with a blast here at Pipi’s Pasture — and everywhere else in Moffat and surrounding counties. It seemed that we had record heat one day and snow the next. What a change.
As I sit writing on this on Tuesday, I have just come in from corral chores. I found crusty snow, icicles hanging from the house roof, frozen gate latches and ice on the water tanks. No wonder, because the temperature was 25 degrees when I got up to make coffee this morning. To top things off, there was fog and a chilly breeze.
After I fed old Ucky this morning, I opened the gate of her overnight pen to let her into the corral for the day. She stood there behind the gate, surveying things, and seemed to be thinking, “Do I want to go out or not?”
I finally got behind her and urged her through the gate. Ucky went a few feet and promptly walked into the loafing shed next door, which was dry and out of the wind and cold. I knew she could get to water and hay, so I let her be; in fact, I considered staying in there with her.
All the animals were hungry this morning. I watched the cats jump from snow to patches of bare ground as they made their way to food I put out in three locations. The deer, who had been sleeping under the trees in the backyard, took notice when I opened the back door to feed the cats. They know all about cat food. So do the skunks that spend the nights under a storage shed.
Yesterday our grandson, Kenny, drove up to summer pasture to check on the cattle. (Remember when I recently wrote about the year we found 15 inches up there in September?) This year, there wasn’t quite as much snow, and there’s a lot of tall grass in the meadow, so we decided we didn’t need to feed them. Besides, they will be coming home in about three days.
Other things going on so far this October include the following.
- Trucks making propane deliveries run up and down the highway.
- People are cutting up and hauling firewood and cleaning out their chimneys.
- The smell of burning wood (from home stoves) is in the air.
- After this first snow, we are rolling up the hoses, putting away gardening tools, locating snowboots and gloves and making appointments to get snow tires put on our vehicles.
- The words “snow advisory” and “snow warning” have returned to the weather forecast.
- We’re hunting up the snow shovel and setting it by the front porch.
- Local stores, guides and outfitters and hunters are gearing up for hunting season.
- As soon as the snow melts in the garden, I’m going to bring my big pumpkin to the house. Halloween is just around the corner.
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.