Doug Cooper: Monotony of chores, smaller hay piles, mud | TSLN.com

Doug Cooper: Monotony of chores, smaller hay piles, mud

Whenever we end up feeding hay to all the cows it's like the movie Groundhog Day. We wake up, feed the yearlings, then feed the cows, and the bulls. The trucks are reloaded and we do it all over again the next day. The days all seem about the same. On the good days the loader tractor starts. On the bad days the gooseneck hay trailer might have a flat tire. Most days it's like having a job in town where you clock in at the same time each morning and go home at quitting time. The only stress is watching the haystacks get smaller. As the hay disappears you hope it will last until the cows can go back to grazing. I keep a daily journal of what we do each day and even that gets repetitive. Feeding hay uses up just enough of the day to make it impractical to start a new project.

The cows do seem to appreciate the hay. I just wish they didn't feel like they had to sample the whole load before selecting a flake to eat. The last two years have been about the worst years for growing grass that I have ever seen. It's really shocking to me to see the country look so tough. For more than a century, this country easily supported twice the amount of livestock that we are running right now. But the other day I saw just a tiny bit of green growing on the south side of a hill, which has me excited. It's probably cheat grass but it's welcome this year. I am counting the days until green grass.

The thaw we had recently has made puddles and ponds everywhere. My mud room has actual mud in it for once. It's certainly a sign of a better spring to come. It's a challenge to ford some of the ponds with the hay truck. The old blown out county road we use is in such bad shape that one place is now a lake a hundred yards across. All those years of grading the sandy country when it was too dry has resulted in the road bed being three feet below the rest of the world. The county road is probably the lowest spot on the ranch. I kind of like the new lake. I have always wanted a moat to discourage trespassers.