We have good and plenty of snow at our Powder Flat headquarters, where we winter both cattle and sheep. Soon we will be lambing here, so that our one set of twin lambs will have some company. We are glad to see some sunny and relatively warm days.
Today, Eamon and Pat drove past the Powder Wash oilfield camp just as a fire broke out. First, they heard an explosion, then flames leaped up. The fire was put out without injury to anyone.
I spoke too soon when I said the winter was just about right, and that we wouldn’t need more additional feed on the Red Desert. We have since had lots of snow and wind. In the mountains, where we live, we have had LOTS of snow. On the Red Desert, where most of the sheep are wintering, we’ve had snow and wind. This is usually a good combination, since the wind opens up the underlying grasses, but this year we’ve had enough snow to cover up the feed. At the Home Ranch, we’ve had enough snow that the tractors have been getting stuck, making it hard to feed the cows. Today, Eamon hauled extra feed to the ewes, and we’ve had folks in to unstick the tractors. All the animals have been fed, thanks to lots of time of effort on the part of family and valued employees.
We feed corn to our sheep on the Red Desert from the time we put the bucks in, in mid-December, until at least the end of January, when the ewes have had two heat cycles to get bred. In late January (now) we assess the winter and either order more corn (if the snow is deep) or not (if the desert is open and the natural feed looks good). Even though we are buried in snow in the mountains, conditions on the desert are good, with just enough snow and lots of available grass. We find that we are also supporting the bird population, who are very happy to help out with the consumption of the corn!