Friday, February 13, 2009

Feeding time

Late every afternoon, we feed big bales of alfalfa hay to our sheep and cows, which live in the same large meadow pasture together at this time of year, along with the burros and a guardian dog. As we drive to the hay stackyard in the noisy flatbed feedtruck, we watch the moose clear the fence to get out of the way before we get there, and we let Rena the Akbash juvenile out to chase the jackrabbits and cottontails down the drive and through the corrals.

We usually have mule deer or pronghorn antelope hanging out in the brush in the pasture, and because the pasture is adjacent to the riverbottom, plenty of birds, including bald eagles (even though the river is frozen). The magpies that hang out at the stackyard are fat from eating guard dog food every day.

Every few days, when we finish feeding, we stop the truck in the lane at the bottom of the hill, in the tall brush. Jim gets back out of the truck and cleans all the excess hay off the flatbed, providing a treat for the bunnies, which in this spot even includes those tiny pika-like pygmy rabbits. The next day, we usually get to spot what’s been enjoying the treat.

Today we noticed we were being watched. Perhaps instead of simply providing a treat for bunnies, we’re providing bait for prey of this great horned owl.

Regardless, Rena loves watching to see what’s chewing on the spot of hay in the lane , and we let her out so she can make her run, flushing rabbits and bunnies as she goes. She gets back in the cab of the truck with us smelling like sagebrush, panting and smiling, when we turn for home. Always a nice way to end a day.


Brenda L. said...

I would consider you wealthier than the top CEO worth billions in his condo in a skyscraper in the city center, with luxury cars and private jets. What you describe here is one of the richest lives I could imagine.

Cat Urbigkit said...

I completely agree.

mdmnm said...

As always, really, really nice photos. Also, it looks really cold up there!

Reid Farmer said...

The owl pic is a wonder! What do you use for a camera?

We have mobs of owls we can hear hooting here most nights and find lots of pellets but I've been frustrated getting decent pictures.

And ditto what Brenda said

Cat Urbigkit said...

I've always used Minolta equipment, so when Sony bought Minolta, I switched to Sony so I could keep my lens collection. I shoot a Sony Alpha 100, a 10.2 megapixel camera, and the shots on this post were taken using a 75-300mm lens. This camera and lens combo goes almost everywhere with me because it's just so portable I throw it on the seat or on the dash of the feedtruck.