April 4, 2018



I’m not going to write about the horrible calving weather last week. And I won’t mention the forecast for this week. As I write this early Monday morning, this week looks like more of the same. So you can read last week’s column and find out about saving calves in the bathtub.
Every year I swear we are going to switch to May calving, and every year, when we have trouble keeping the bulls in, we say, “What the heck? Maybe it will be nice next spring.”  But this year, I really mean it.
Someone posted on social media the other day “I hope summer falls on a weekend this year!” And isn’t that the truth? Forecast for single-digit lows the next few nights. Dang.
I remember years ago up at the ranch. It was a warm, dry spring. I had worked some ground up and started seeding early. I mean like early in the spring. I was seeding oats and Einar, one of our neighbors, pulled up. He stopped to visit. Back in the old days, we did that. We didn’t text or call.  People would stop and visit.
Anyway, Einar pulled off the road to visit. He said he had never seen anyone seeding in March. Looking back, it guess maybe it was a tad early. But it did make two crops that year. We had moisture and I hayed it, and then combined the regrowth. I should have done vice versa, but I was young.
That reminds me of that field. One of the drought years, one of several, I got a few second cutting square bales off that field.  
Hay was scarce. Carmen had qualified for the finals rodeo in Pueblo, Colo. They had warned us not to buy hay in Colorado because of some kind of bug in the hay.
So being a deal maker, I arranged for a friend to haul Carm’s horse and I would bring hay for the North Dakota contestants’ horses.
I proudly loaded our little three-horse trailer with idiot blocks (little square bales) and headed south by southwest.
We pulled into the fairgrounds at Pueblo and the North Dakota contingent was waiting for their “horse” hay.
They each grabbed a bale and started to carry it to their trailers. They all stopped about the same time and began complaining about the thistles sticking out of the hay bales! Free hay! And they complained! That is gratitude.
I guess to some people, horse hay means a better quality than I was used to. They all fed the buggy hay.  
So if you are ever driving across Colorado and you notice patches of Russian thistle, you know you transported the seed.