I went back up into Greasy yesterday to check the water situation in Section 17 and Sulphur, pastures we felt less critical when Robbin and I went up earlier in the week. We have left them open to one another to make what water we have available to the cattle from both.
I followed my neighbor Caleb Pennebaker up the hill, hauling water to his cattle. Each ranch has its unique attributes and deficiencies, and what works for one ranch doesn’t necessarily work for others. Furthermore, each cattleman develops his own unique perspective, and more often than not, shaped by the ranch he operates. Caleb’s cattle are not in dire straights, though his water is drying back, but he wants to stay ahead of real trouble and deal with the lack of water on his terms by augmenting his cattle early.
In Section 17, the shaded pool of water in Greasy Creek is holding remarkably well, water currently running at 1-2 gallons/minute for a couple of hundred feet to just above the fig trees.
And the water trough piped from Sulphur Spring near the corrals is full and not leaking
as is the trough in the Gathering Field that Robbin and I opened up to the cows in the Lower Field, about half of which have come through the gate.
In Sulphur, the Chimney Pond has been dry for three weeks, but
the pond at Ragle Springs is currently holding a few cows in the middle of the pasture. The cows have redistributed themselves through the open gate from 17 to Sulphur in the past couple of weeks, utilizing the Sycamore Spring that is keeping two troughs full, the overflow of which keeping another neighbor’s trough full.
We’ve had a long string of days over 100°, not unusual for this time of year, that’s impacting our stockwater already. With the balance of July, August and September to get through, we’ll use these photos as benchmarks as we go. Typically, our springs begin to recover by mid-September with shorter days and cooler nights, but as the second dry year in a row, there is no guarantee of that. This information may be valuable for those who follow us, like which springs held up and which ones didn’t in a drought, and though no two years are the same, help them make more informed decisions.