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Lambs announce spring’s arrival, work to be done

Springtime is always the time of rebirth, when the fields and pastures are returning after the winter’s snow (what little we got this year).

Our sheep have been shorn and now are giving birth to their lambs. The beginning of a life always is an amazing thing to witness even when my duties as the midnight midwife make for some short nights. From the time they are born until they are up, wobble-legged and looking for their mother’s teat, is less than 30 minutes. How they know what to look for and where to find it is amazing. The fact that a 7-pound newborn lamb (the same weight as our new grandchild) will grow up – on nothing but mother’s milk and green grass – to be 100 pounds at 7 months old is amazing.

Along with the joys of new lambs, there are the many duties of spring. Fences always seem to need some work. As I walk our land pulling up a wire here, stapling a wire back to a post there, it’s interesting to look at the old, twisted cedar posts and wonder just how long they have been doing their duty of corralling livestock.

When my future father-in-law first handed me some fence pliers, as a test to see if I could work hard enough to date his daughter, the fences looked pretty much as rough as they do now, 39 years later. What stories of years gone by do the weathered posts and wires have to tell?

While digging a few fence-post holes this week, I’ve found the soil down deep is only slightly moist – a lot drier than what a good winter would produce. The rains of last fall have left behind some moisture, but the soil moisture isn’t going to last into summer without some irrigation or spring rains.

With my limited soil moisture and my irrigation water already running down the La Plata River, I must use it now, or it will be lost to me. To provide as much moisture to my fields and pastures as I can this spring, I have started my sprinkler system. Between the high winds and freezing nights, it is a daily chore to turn it on in the morning and off at night. I drain it daily to prevent the pump and valves from freezing and breaking at night because of ice.

I’m looking forward to the warmth and green that spring will soon bring.

Doug Ramsey has farmed in La Plata County for more than 35 years. He can be reached at 385-4375.

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