It is late on Saturday night, and we are pretty flat with exhaustion from our honest fight with an unusually cold winter. My creative juices are a little expired, so this tome is a short one. Tomorrow, Sunday, is usually a light day for us, but there are enough things that need attention on the ranch that it’s looking like another long day.
Today I woke to a thermometer that read somewhere around 30 below zero. The only convenience in temps like that is that in just 10 more degrees, at 40 below zero, Fahrenheit and Celsius finally agree
The moon is half full right now and stunningly bright in the cold clear sky. I’ve been concerned about elk helping themselves to hay from us, both in field and stack. In the high-altitude crystal clear moonlight of a subzero night, they’ll travel miles from the hills above the ranch and jump over our fences to eat our hay from our stacks. Last night my neighbor spotted a herd of elk in our hay stacks on the way back home from her hospital nursing shift. She said she dozed off on the road after she counted 300 going by the front of her stopped truck on the valley road. Friends in the next valley to the south have mammoth herds of nearly 2000 head breaking through haystack fences. That many elk, each weighing 600 to 1000 pounds, can consume a lot of fine stored forage.
So that was my main job on the docket for today: extend the height of our stack fences to try to keep them out. We have had mobs just push through anything we’ve put up, but we’re hoping this works. That didn’t seem like too bad of a work day, even with the cold. But then virtually all machines we have refused to start or have broken in the brittle cold. It was after dark and by headlamp that Josh and I finished feeding the beeves their obligate six tons of hay and ensuring that they have more than enough (and enough wasted to lay on to keep them warm on the cold ground). We were both fatigued and famished (no lunch breaks!) and called it sort of a day.
I still have to get some firewood in to keep all the women in my life warm and I do have one more trip up to the hay stacks in the midnight moonlight to see if herds of elk are helping themselves…
Glenn, Caryl, girls and Cowboys at Alderspring