From Pipi’s Pasture: Filling stock tanks in January
One of my most time-consuming jobs involves filling the stock tanks at the corral. Where possible, I let the hose run while I do other chores, but the danger in doing this is forgetting that I have water running—often with disastrous results. (I’ve written about this before.)
In the winter I fill the tanks an hour or so after feeding hay. That way the air is a little warmer so it’s easier to lay out the hose and raise the water hydrant handle. Sometimes the sun is even shining. So this rather mild January morning I didn’t have much to do as I waited for the water. What to do with the time? I planned ahead and took a book with me. After I had the water running, I sat down on a bale of hay and opened the book.
It wasn’t long until Helper the Cat came along. He’s always delighted to find me sitting on a bale or an overturned mineral tub. After all, I’m always glad to pet him. Helper climbed up behind me and then onto my back. I continued to read because I couldn’t reach the cat. But then he dug his claws into my back. Ouch! I have never felt such sharp claws.
I put down my book and pulled Helper off my back. I put my book down and set Helper down beside me on the bale. I began petting him, but before long his claws were stuck in my leg, and he
began working his claws back and forth– quite happily, in fact. I put Helper down, got up from the bale, and walked over to the corral fence.
A few cows and two summer calves nosed the feed ground, hunting up leaves. I made a mental note that the two calves have to be weaned. A red cow rubbed on a metal panel between the two sides of the corral, making it bang as it moved back and forth. One cow lay contentedly chewing her cud. At the end of the corral other cows came in for water.
I looked at all of the deer tracks in the snow. This is the first winter that the deer have found a way into the area around the garden and hay storage area. I thought about the fence repair that will have to be done in the spring, including the partition between sides of the corral.
I checked the water level in the tank and then sat back down on the hay bale. I noticed the cats that were scattered around, lying on the hay bales. As I sat there a short-tailed black cat from somewhere in the neighborhood ( he’s around sometimes) came down by the hay trailer, looking for food. When he saw me he turned around and started back.
A flock of birds—I think sparrows—took off from where they were sitting in the elm trees. It sounded as if there was a sudden wind.
Before long the stock tanks were filled with water, and I gathered up the hoses and headed back to the house. I had been out just over an hour. I didn’t get much reading done, but it was a peaceful time.
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User Legend: Moderator Trusted User
Just like you, I live with the fear of wildfire. My southern Oregon town of Ashland nestles against the foothills of the Siskiyou Mountains, whose forests become tinder in our hot, dry summers.