Winter at Medicine Spirit Ranch moves at a slower pace than the rest of the year. The fields no longer require fertilizing, cutting grass, baling, and hauling hay. Likewise major repairs of the barns, major fencing changes, and replacing gates or cattle guards await better weather.
A few jobs increase during the winter. The feeding of the stock requires range cubes be fed daily to the cattle rather than only a couple of days a week when the grass is green. We also provide large bales of hay typically three times a week via a tractor that requires a little time.
Otherwise cedar chopping increases during the winter as the green cedar is easier to spot among the brown grass, and fences always need a bit of mending.
Otherwise winter tasks are largely determined by what most needs to be addressed. Some items simply are stumbled upon during morning rounds. For example today I stumbled across the carcass of a dead Black Baldy cow located at an infrequently traveled portion of my ranch. I had missed her late last year but never found evidence of her. I have no idea how or why she died but am especially perplexed because of losing two other cows last year. Only once before have I lost a cow and that was when her hind legs became paralyzed while attempting to give birth to a particularly large calf. She unfortunately failed to respond to the passage of time and treatment. Three cows dying in a year made for a very bad year indeed.
Last year also saw dreaded ice storm Uri from which we are still recovering. It was amazing the number of downed limbs and trees that resulted and that continue to litter parts of my ranch. I had hoped we would have the freakish mess cleaned up within a year, but my hope will go unrealized. There simply remains too much damage for us to clean up anytime soon.
I remain hopeful that 2022 will prove better than last year. Surely the problems encountered in 2021 won’t recur. Reasons for hope are abundant. I have some outstanding calves ready to go to market and prices are good. We also are making good progress clearing the new land purchased last May. Hopefully, we will replace the previous bad fence along the county road, will have re-seeded the land, and have sufficient rain to grow a nice stand of grass. I also remain hopeful that we may finally see Covid-19 in the rear view mirror. Here’s hoping for a better future!
In addition the Great Blue Heron greets me almost daily. As previously noted in several blog pieces, the Great Blue Heron promises good fortune, and its presence adds to my optimism about the coming year.