MATURE

 

 

Perhaps age, or perhaps it’s the 100-degree heat, but my enthusiasm wanes for lots of things, including poetry.

I’m up early enough to write before we leave at daylight when it’s the coolest. Perhaps it’s the drama of the news, its incongruence, its self-righteous and self-serving players vying for the spotlight, for power or money—mostly bad-acting at best, politics has become so terribly transparent these days. Thank God we have work to do.

Yesterday, when we finished processing and doctoring a few eyes of the calves we weaned Tuesday, Terri pulled her iPhone out to document the Greasy calves—something I had planned to do, but didn’t. Thank you, Terri.

Perhaps the work, the satisfaction that comes with the jobs we do is where enthusiasm waits, apart from the distractions of the outside world beyond our ridgelines. Engaged and invested, each day is usually an adventure. So I’ve changed my writing habits to summer afternoons, glad to be inside and out of the heat hoping to find a little more enthusiasm then.

 

 

MATURE

We take sleep when we can,
welcome the dreams that dance
unsteadily from out of dark curtains.

Undisturbed, we are the playwrights,
shaping characters and editing lines
as we move towards an unknown ending

or a mysterious purpose, if any, on this planet
at odds with itself, and with humanity—
yet hoping that the visions we hone

subconsciously will bleed into the daylight
and become like ripe seeds planted
in our brains, waiting, waiting to mature.

 

OMG

 

 

The foundation crumbles—
the red, white and blue
states of dysfunction

grapple blindly
for another victory,
chip away at truth and honor

just to play in the District
of Columbia. Poll-driven
word games, big dollars

for coffers drive the train—
O’ Casey Jones
watch your speed!

 

Early Morning Sort

 

 

We’ve been looking forward to working cattle in our renovated corrals in Greasy, a project started by Earl McKee before our family purchased his ranch nearly twenty years ago. The work was completed last spring after we branded our calves in the old corrals. Today, we sorted cows from calves to be hauled down the mountain to begin the weaning process below.

In the photo, Robbin and the girls are sorting two gooseneck loads for Bob and me to haul, a two-hour round trip. While we were gone, they finished their sort and wormed the cows in our new facilities, pleased with all their options.

 

 

Paregien Ranch Steers

 

 

The weaned steers from the Paregien Ranch averaged over 800 lbs. and brought good money at the Vialia Livestock Market yesterday as we took a break from fixing fence with outside temperatures of 108 degrees. (Terri Blanke iPhone photo.)

 

WELCOME HOME

 

 

Some say joy,
shout happiness
for a moment—

long day
of dust and heat,
exhausted.

 

QUICK ACQUAINTANCE

 

 

Day-old wonders,
what passing pollinator
could resist an invitation

for the momentary splendor
we leave in the dark
to haul confused

fat calves off the hill
in the heat building to
107 degrees—all

the action melted,
long stems limp and wilted
when we return.

 

Harvest of Grass

 

 

No small accomplishment, we hauled the calves from the Paregien Ranch to our weaning corrals yesterday, nine gooseneck loads over an old four-wheel drive, bladed track—a slow-going, two-hour, 2000-foot descent off the mountain as the dirt gets looser with each successive trip. Nerve wracking, to say the least, we started early, and weighed the last load at 2:00 p.m. in 102 degrees before yesterday’s high of 107.

Robbin and I are pleased with the calves, the same calves we branded in early January. Some nice steers that will average about 775 lbs. and help offset some of our annual expenses, but we’re really looking forward to our sort of heifers, most of which will make our first cut for replacement heifers.

It all seems so rudimentary as we begin weaning our English calves, our harvest of last season’s higher elevation grass. Our special thanks to Bob, Allie and Terri Drewry who provided this iPhone photo.

 

SAME OLD GROUND

 

 

Same old ground this time of year,
gathering grass-fat calves and steers,
pasture by pasture, to the corrals
to weigh and exchange for cash—

to do it all over again—a collage
of seasoned stories where details blend
within the bronze and brittle stems
between canyons fenced like funnels

down to flatter ground. Cattle gentler,
better bred to routine and for the hook
on these same old hills they graze,
when and if it rains in time for grass.

Habit after half-a-hundred years,
no two the same, we circle back
in the same old tracks, just
to see what we’ll never see again.

 

Dragonfly

 

 

While making preparations to wean the calves on the Paregien Ranch, Bob and I spotted a dragonfly at the Windmill Spring neither of us had ever seen before. After a cursory quest to identify it on Google, the closest I got was the Male Broad-bodied Chaser (Libellula depressa), not a native of this continent, but specifically Europe and England. Photo through the telephoto of my Canon point-and-shoot.

 

A couple of calves we’ll be gathering Sunday.

 

HERDS OF BIRDS

 

 

Perhaps it is the constant news,
each day a different page,
that I close the book

to watch the Killdeer herd
their brood of errant children—
one always lost. Hatched

on the run, they learn all
the words they will need,
corralled beneath spread wings,

in a few short minutes
until one or two escape
in different directions

to go exploring the forests
of dry and brittle grasses.
It takes two to keep four together:

she to hold the bunch
while he makes circles
leading the last stray home.