Springtime in the Rockies is not what its cracked up to be. At least not on idyllic Alderspring.
But we finally got a break with some warm weather–nice break from one snow squall after another. And the wind quit instead of continuing to feel like Kansas (started wanting to call our border pups Toto). It’s been in the 60s for 3 days now, but the view over the western mountains looks bleak. The weather guys say snow again by the weekend.
The break has been nice–some time for the calves to get strong and warm in the bright sun. We have about 20 babies now, and they are all early. The date we planned to start calving doesn’t come until the tenth. By the end of our calving season, we should have 140 new critters running around the ranch.
So far, the calving has been real nice–the moms have pretty much handled it without any help from us. We had a set of tiny twins the other day, and one must have been real glad to get out of his tight quarters, even though he couldn’t walk. We’ve seen this before where one twin couldn’t get up, and we think it is because there is not a lot of room inside mom for two–so one gets real cramped up and shoved over to one end of the uterus.
All we do about it is bottle feed him with some milk from mom (ever try to milk a wild cow?) and get him enough energy over a few days to get him limber. As of today, he is doing real well, and will be out of the barn pen by tomorrow.
Spring field work is also starting up – we have about 150 acres of seed to put in the ground. We’ve also been working hard on all our building projects that will move the ranch to the other side of the Pahsimeroi River. This is by far the biggest project keeping us busy this spring.
The main reason we are moving all of the home and ranch infrastructure is to get our barn and working and sorting corrals away from the river, eliminating any water quality effects. Currently, because the barn and corrals are so close to the river, manure-laden runoff during heavy rains and rapid snowmelt can reach the Pahsimeroi–a lovely spring fed river with opalascent gravel bottoms (fish thrive in it) and usually crystal clear water.
The place where we are moving the ranch to is over a half a mile away from the river. We will attempt to move over the next few months 2 homes, 1 50′ shop building, our 27 foot freezer, our beef packing building, a 130′ barn, and 2 sheds over 200′ long. Then we’ll build some 2000′ of fence (and take down the same) all the while trying to build a new house for us to live in.
I tried to convince Caryl and the girls that tipis, yurts or wall tents were valid options, but they refused to listen. Caryl always brings up memories from when we were first married when we moved into a cabin in the Maine woods without power, water or phone and lived there for a year on love until the house burned down (she didn’t light it). She says she’s getting too old to live on love.
And here’s where most of you readers come in–we still have to raise quality grass fed beef for you all to partake of. And ship it to you (please don’t stop ordering–the money is still going out faster than going in!).
But we have the best crew ever. Josiah, solid rock dependable cowman (eligible young man, I might add); Jess, cowhand and mechanic/welder extraordinaire; Dave, new, but full of optimism and can-do-edness; Becca, best hotwire runner in the West, weed grubber, and range rider; and Melanie, horse breaker (she calls it training) and co-grubber and range rider with Bec.
I think we have enough good people hired to pull it all off, but perhaps I’m delusional. I keep telling my ranch hands that half a day is twelve hours (so we just work half days). I guess we’ll see as spring progresses.
Maybe we’ll be more able to enjoy a peaceful springtime in the Rockies next year…we are due for one sometime!