From Pipi’s Pasture: A between time
Over the years I’ve heard Moffat County residents remark that we don’t really experience springtime around the county; we just go right from winter to summer. There’s surely some truth to that, depending on a person’s definition of “spring” and what’s going on weather-wise that year. I look at March and April as a transitional period to summer, with signs of both spring and winter. Take this morning, for example.
As my habit (so the cats will find food on early hour treks to the house), I poked my head out the front door at 5:30 this morning and poured cat food into a pan on the porch. It seemed colder than usual so I checked the thermometer when I came back into the house. Four degrees above zero seemed awfully cold to me. I went back to bed and covered up my head.
Snow and cold aren’t uncommon this time of year, even in May and June. It’s always touch and go as far as the fruit trees are concerned. I can remember one spring when the tiny leaves on the oak trees froze up at Morapos, and the trees had to put out new leaves. It seemed odd to see naked oak trees up into June.
This is also an unusually dry transitional period. Although a little moisture was forecast yesterday, we saw only a few minutes of horizontally-blowing snow. Ranchers report that some of the ponds on summer pasture are dry. What will summer bring?
We know that it’s a time between winter and summer when…
*it is four degrees above zero one morning and 40 degrees above zero the next morning.
*it is dry enough to water the trees and lawn and then wait for the hose to thaw out the next morning.
*it is snowy enough to break the branches on the trees (although not yet this year) and makes driving in the mountains treacherous.
*the cows seem unsettled; some days they don’t seem to know what they want.
*there’s a lot of wind.
*hay is getting scarce in the haystacks, but the summer pasture isn’t ready yet.
*the irrigation ditches aren’t going yet but will be shortly, depending on available water.
*flower beds are full of fall leaves, but the tulips are coming up through them anyway.
*the house is begging to be cleaned, but it’s too early to open up the house (especially recently) or to shut off the dusty furnace.
*the propane in the tanks is low.
*it’s not time to plant the garden or flowers yet, though we’d love to buy up plants and put in seeds.
*branding time has to be rescheduled—sometimes more than once—due to rain, snow, or cold temperatures.
*the birds are building nests, perhaps even laying eggs in them.
*the elm trees, although not leaved out yet, have a light green look to them.
*the wild onions are up on some pastures, and at the Morapos ranch the Salt and Peppers, Bluebells, and Johnny-Jump-Ups are blooming.
Before long, the weather will transition from the “in between” time to a hot summer.
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