Summer Satisfaction At The Ranch

The seasons seem to roll by with greater speed these days, but what a year it’s been with Covid-19 restrictions and ice storm Uri. Admittedly, feelings of personal vulnerability  have been great. A humbling year to say the least.

Nevertheless, life has returned this summer to a more normal state. One of the most pleasing days of the year at the ranch is when we have cut, raked, and baled the hay, especially when its a good hay crop. And this year we had the second best hay crop ever with 166 round bales (each weighing about 900 pounds). This is greater than our own needs, although still feeling vulnerable, I’ll keep a larger reserve than I have previously and will sell the remainder.

While the rains have not been tremendous this year, they came at the right time. We experienced a good rain just after fertilizing (whew, such a big investment in dollars that could easily go for naught without rain). We also had timely rains during the growing season and then a dry spell long enough to cut, rake, and bale the hay. The bales will be left in the fields for several weeks, as the bales when wrapped tightly get hot and spontaneous combustion has been described with barn fires resulting. Following a reasonable interlude for the bales to cool, we will fill our barns to the ceilings with newly cut hay. Nothing like the pungent smell of newly harvested hay.

Bales of hay in the pasture

Bella , Jack and yours truly inspecting a bale


The birth of a calf is another satisfying event. Over a period of several weeks we had 15 calves born. It is such fun to see the calves scampering around.  They are so curious that they will come up to humans, at least until their mothers emit a deep mooing sound to let them know they are getting out of line. What fun to watch their playful antics and watch how rapidly they gain weight on nourishing mothers’ milk.

Previously I’ve written also several blog pieces about a Great Blue Heron that has frequented our ranch. While we have other herons about the ranch, I had not seen the one with whom I had developed a certain symbiotic bond. Well, yesterday he (I assume it is a he) returned. This heron sits on the same limb of a nearby tree, sees me and flies to a spot about thirty yards from where I stand. As I begin to throw out food to Survivor Duck and the fish in the tank, the Great Blue Heron slinks down the embankment, drawing near to me. There he squats down and folds his neck amid the weeds, awaiting an unsuspecting fish to swim by. On spotting a small fish, he swiftly lunges and extends his long neck, usually coming up above the water’s surface with a fish clamped in his beak. What a treat to have him back at our stock tank. Legends say herons are good luck! Finally after Covid-19 and the devastating ice storm, we could use some good luck.

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6 thoughts on “Summer Satisfaction At The Ranch

  1. Gale Lacy Dunn July 5, 2021 at 9:39 am Reply

    Tom, I so enjoy your blogs.

    Please tell Trudy hello!

  2. Janet Hagler Lindemann July 5, 2021 at 10:56 am Reply

    Good article, as always. I enjoyed your upbeat voice in announcing new life and accomplishment in a good crop. I am sorry for kids who don’t have this experience of the life cycle and the joy in watching its successful course.

  3. JUDY ROSTAD July 5, 2021 at 4:57 pm Reply

    Fun read, so glad to hear of your good fortune.

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. La Nelle July 5, 2021 at 8:28 pm Reply

    Was such fun to see all these creatures first hand!

  5. Madeline July 6, 2021 at 4:53 pm Reply

    I’m so glad to hear and see how spring and new growth and new life are returning to the ranch, and I love the photos! — though I notice those momma cows are clearly keeping a close watch on you creatures with those box things that keep clicking at them!

  6. tomhuttonmd July 6, 2021 at 7:20 pm Reply

    We missed you this past week. Hope all is well.

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