Tag Archives: red-stem filaree


Red Stem Filaree - April 5, 2011

Red Stem Filaree – April 5, 2011


While we slept, the grass grew
an inch overnight beneath the clouds
and passing showers, working overtime,

as the dry earth spun beneath them—
as the creek edged down through sand
and gravel, seeping over the granite dikes

that lump its bed, towards the river
and settlements downstream. I dreamed
we were the end of the line

living on a lake amid thick timber,
fat fish flashing bellies to the sun
and fresh meat hung in a tree.

No other world beyond but more
of the same, working on its own—
no children slain in schools for effect,

no political charades, no slaves
to bankers banking on superfluous debt—
and the grass grew taller, while we slept.





With rain upon the loose debris
of last year’s feed,
come first leaves of grass.



Ranch Update 2 – Red-Stem Filaree


Stocker operators have long shipped their steers, but cow and calf producers have been supplementing with hay since August, while calving in between. Bad year, dry year, call it what you may, what green feed that has germinated is all but gone.


Though classified as a non-native invasive weed originating in the Mediterranean, Red-Stem Filaree (Erodium cicutarium) is exceptional cattle feed, oftentimes thriving best in a dry year. In the clay, however, most south slopes are bare below 2,500 feet and patches of filaree on the west slopes are beginning to turn red and purple with lack of rain and above average warm temperatures in the 70s and 80s for the past two weeks. Weather Journal 2013-14


Even in the sandier, non-grazed areas along the USACE easement road to Terminus Dam, the Red-Stem Filaree has turned or is turning.


Or in some cases, headed-out and gone to seed without producing any leaves.


None of this is good news, given only lip service by the local media, but a precursor to the devastating impact of this drought to agriculture in California. With no rain or snow of any import, there will be no surface water available to farmers, making them dependent solely on diminishing groundwater. Some with older orchards have already been advised to push them out. Not only is the price of beef going up (some more), but all food stuffs of quality are soon to follow.

Plant your gardens!

We’re adapting as well as we can without panicking, but shipping another load of cows to town tomorrow.


Poem from this time of year:March 2011