Well Howdy Wranglers!
And a Happy New Year to you!
We sure had quite a start and I am happy to let you know that all creatures are fine, managing the recent cold well. Thick and long in their hair, both cows and horses, they have the uncanny ability to absorb the sun and store it to stay comfortable during the overnight lows. Or so it seems. Few prettier sights than when on a ‘full moon’ bright night you look out the window and see horses play, run, rear and chase, staying warm and connected.
Thanks to Nikki for managing the Ranch affairs this fall. NJ and I spent a month in and around the Mohave Desert, what a beautiful place. Coming from the lush surroundings of the Ranch here, what an eye-opening adventure it was! The Desert is magnificent, you just have to look a lot closer to see the wonders then you do here, where flowers, foliage, animals and the visual beauty is oh so in your face. We saw the tiniest of flowers, thirsting for every drop of dew, creatures big and small scurrying around for shade and privacy and the mere survival of it all simply depends on the available water.
At a Desert museum, nothing but dust and antiques, all outside, a small drip around an outdoor faucet created lush grass and plant life, very telling how all of life depends on water to exist. We are so blessed here in Ontario, with our seemingly abundance of potable water, if there ever was a time not to take that for granted, it is now.
In and around California, the water situation is so bad, that the equation is simple. If you have money, you have water, if you are middle income or lower, you and your family are likely out of luck as it takes too much money to drill deeper. In a State that clearly uses more than Mother Nature replenishes, and has done so for over 50 years, the end of that is in sight. When your house runs out of water, your mortgage and equity in it is plain worthless, ZERO. No future. Abandon it and start with nothing, again, somewhere else.
Yet the people we encountered on this epic road trip where so warm and friendly, plain respectful of each other, be it in traffic, restaurants or on sidewalks. West of the Mississippi old values still dominate, for better or for worse, it is what it is and it is slow to change. On our way home we had the chance to attend the Wrangler’s National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas, and low and behold they had a “Canada Night”, rode our flag in on horseback, sang our National Anthem, finished that to loud cheers all around and then carried on. It was a good night!
We are getting ready for this year’s calf crop, hustled hard last summer so we would have enough hay and straw in the barn, weather like this it just takes more feed and bedding that in a more normal winter. Please send us a good thought so we don’t miss anything and give every cow a chance to raise her calf next summer on our green grass.
Last year’s calves were some of our best yet, so much rain all summer really allowed great grazing ‘til late in the fall. Matter of fact, this is the first year in forever that I can remember that in some pastures we have a foot of old grass going into the winter, which can come in really handy this spring when it gives us a place to turn the early calves out on, with their mothers of course. That dead grass makes for a clean and healthy start for them, especially if the spring stays cool and wet for some time. I will keep you updated on how it all works out.
As you plan your non-winter adventures please keep us in mind. As always, we love to have you out, enjoy our great horses and true rural hospitality.
P.S Thank you to all of you who send thoughts and condolences to our Dad’s passing a year ago now. Despite knowing the circle of life, and his passing did not come as a total surprise, its irreversibility and the finality continues to give us reasons to pause.