The very end of April and we get our fist dandelion!
This has been a very odd season but it would seem that spring has finally arrived…we had a lot of snow and a lot of water! But now we have lots of green grass and green leaves so all is as it should be. I think this is the first year that all the spring birds were here ahead of the spring weather!
We have a new summer student, Kyla, she is a lovely young lady and I am certain that we will all have wonderful summer working together.
The cows are coming in soon and the crested fields are ready for them, with this being such a late spring there was a couple of weeks that we were wondering if the grass would be here before the cows.
So what is happening on The Ranch:
- We have been having trouble last summer and already this spring with people thinking that it is okay to park and camp overnight on The Ranch. Camping is never allowed on the ranch even though it is public land, the regulations in the wildlife act set out for The Ranch state that the property must be vacated between 11 pm and 4 am
- Neal and Kyla have checked all the fences and have most of the repairs done
- There are plans to do work on the corrals
- Cows are coming the weekend of the 12/13 of May
- Neal is still actively involved with the PCF and the AIA.
- He has been invited back to SK to speak on grass management for Native prairie Apprieciantion Week
- Kyla has joined us for the summer
Well the grass is growing, the wetlands are full and the sun is shining so all is well with The Ranch. Hope everyone has a great spring,
Neal, Shannon and the boys 🙂
Lots of snow for boys and dogs to play on
a frosty dog on a foggy morning
a frosty dog on a foggy morning
another frosty morning
The first green of spring, mosses and lichens starting to grow
In early March there were only snow drifts left on the prairie by early April it was all snow covered again
Finally the end of April brings us blue skies and snow free prairie
Birthday fun for Neal
Neal and Reyd draining some water off the roads
A proud boy after coming in first in District 4-H speak-offs
The boys have caught the pigeon that has been living with the chickens all winter
A chilly lamb needing to be warmed up
Boyds new ewe…Mask!
January super moon over lake San Fransico
The new year is here and there is alot of good bad and ugly! The year started with some very cold weather then it warmed up and was so lovely…it felt like spring was just around the corner, unfortunatley it wasn’t and then it got cold and stayed there!
What all has been happening around the Ranch lately:
- In January Neal became a new director for PCF
- There has been alot of paper work happening and everyone is trying to stay warm
- We had 3 ewes lamb with twins, 1 ewe had very little milk so now we have 2 bottle babies!
Reyd and Boyd warming up the day old lambs
- In February Neal went to Saskatoon to present at the SK PCAP Reclamation and Remediation Workshop
This has been a very cold February and I keep hoping things warm up soon 🙂
A frosty January day
The boys enjoying the freezing sunshine
only snow drifts left on the prairie at the end of January
lots of snow on the prairie now!
Merry Christmas everyone! We have had such a wonderful December that we almost forgot it was winter until a couple days ago when it suddenly turned cold and snowy! Now we are having a lovely white Christmas.
There isn’t much going on around here until we are into the New Year:
- Neal is going to the Native Prairie Restoration and reclamation workshop in Saskatoon in February.
- Neal will be attending the Prairie Conservation Forum AGM is in the Calgary Cabela’s meeting room on January 18th.
- Otherwise it is budget and annual report writing and staying warm.
So wishing everyone a merry Christmas and a happy new year.
Good night to all and to all a good night!
A snowy prairie
It has to be sunny to play shadow games
Boyd and Reyd enjoying the day
A perfect sunset
Three flowered avens
Happy fall everyone! It has been so long since my last post that I am not sure where to start…So lets review. We had a lovely spring with some moisture then we had no moisture for the rest of the summer. We did have a decent grass year because of the spring moisture however, things were getting very brown by early July. The fire hazard was very high and there were several fires in the Brooks area but not on the Ranch. We had an increase in our local great Blue Herons, I’m guessing it was due to a shortage of water in our drought affected area. I tried on many occasions to get a picture but they move way too fast for me, one morning there was a group of 5 flying out of the canal!
So here is what has happened (last few months) and what will be happening around the Ranch:
- The pheasant season has gone well, there were a lot of hunters early in the season but now with the snow they have slowed down.
- The cows all went home on the 28th of October.
- Neal attended the fall SRM meeting in Lethbridge.
- Neal is currently working on the 2018 budget.
- We did have a summer student, Ashley Dyck, from the U of S, she worked on ground truthing for the GVI.
- We had the barn tinned in May and it looks great and really keeps the weather out!
blue eyed grass
slender beardtongue, not something we usually see here on the Ranch
pin cushion cactus blossoms
prickly pear cactus blossoms
last of the rain for the summer
some of our spring weather
Ashley Dyck hard at work ground truthing for the GVI
The AER out on tour of the Ranch this spring
a few little boys checking out the damage the beavers did
duck eggs very well hidden in the cattails
A grey horned owl in willows
The freshly tinned barn
my little men
meadow foxtail flowering
geese on the wetland
cattle out mowing the grass
Beavers having done some clearing…
the dam the beavers built before the water started to flow
Two little blue flowers on the prairie now!
Spring has sprung, the grass is riz….I know where the birdies is 🙂
Welcome back spring with all your lovely sunshine and birds and grass and greenery! It is lovely out there, out here. All our spring birds have returned, the ducks, geese, swans, robins, meadow larks, black birds and all the other birds. Even the lady bugs are back and the ants….there is an abundance of those this spring.
As we prepare for the summer season there are a few things that have been going on:
- We are excited to have Ashley Dyck starting as our summer student this year. She will be continuing on with the GVI research and helping implement the invasive species plan.
- Neal attended the AIA conference in Banff this spring.
- Lethbridge college had a field trip on the Ranch Neal assisted in teaching about how range management affects wildlife.
- Cows come in on May 20th this year
- Neal took his applicators tutorial course at the end of March and is planning to test in May, he hopes it will help him implement the invasive species plan.
Well that seems to be all that is exciting and happening around the ranch these days. Enjoy the rest of your April and happy Easter and spring to all.
Shannon, Neal and the boys
Every spring as the ice starts to melt it pulls up vegetation from the bottom of the wetlands…it looks bad and smells the same! But is an essential part of the spring water turn over
lots of water coming off the pivot in mid March
early spring run off
The wetland looks a bit rough with all the vegetation pulled up and waiting for the big melt to be complete
early spring run off from the pivot f
A well deserved swim on a warm day after a long run
Boyd riding Festus
Reyd riding Zipper
Waiting for things to green up
Looking back over the ranch from the big east branch canal on the west side
The east branch canal is full to the brim as the EID is busy filling reservoirs in preparation for the busy summer season
A big reclamation site on the west side of the ranch
found some Phlox moss greening up very early in March
Phlox moss blooming…April showers do bring flowers
The first few blossoms of early Cinquefoil on the prairie
My little crocus patch starting to pop up
The first little crocus in the patch 🙂
Two little trees growing in an old tree stu
New beaver activity
These pussy willows have already opened and were buzzing with bees…they would not stay nice and still on the windy day for a picture
on career day I had an artist and a Rancher!
Well the ground hog didn’t have any good news for us in the west and so far he was right. We have been having lots of cold and snow. Even though we welcome the moisture we don’t enjoy the bitter cold that came with it! We were fortunate to be in Fernie skiing when the powder came and were storm stayed and got in another day of skiing :).
I must say we had at least on winter weather phenomena this year and I have a photo of it! We had thunder head clouds and Dinosaur Provincial Park had thunder and lighting that day. It was like a summer storm day just not green or really all that warm! We did however get a snow shower…my camera of course froze up so no pics of the rain drops! We also had lots of fog and hoar frost, the frost is always beautiful and one day we had two pheasants sitting in the tree out front!
So there are a few things going on around the Ranch this month:
- We have had the first of our lambs born, just after the bitter cold, triplets and all are well. These will be for the 4-H projects
- February 22 is the closing day for summer student applications for summer work on the Ranch
- Lethbridge college has confirmed that it is coming out in April for a field day
- Neal has been working on the year end reports
- We have been busy with building maintenance and getting everything ready for spring
With the long dark days of winter behind us (hopefully), we are looking at sunshine and melting snow 🙂 We have not seen any geese yet which is very unusual as we normally see a few scouts in early February.
Valentines day, bloody valentines day! Should be a day of love but is usually a day of dread! Good luck to everyone, in or out of love and relationships, remember that love is all around us and it is usually easier to find if we close our eyes and open our hearts 🙂 Best of luck to everyone,
Shannon, Neal and the Boys
stormy day in February
thunder head clouds in February
A wonderful frosty sunrise at the Ranch
a beautiful winter sunrise over the frozen lake
two pheasants in a frost covered tree
Our frost covered forest!
Pheasants in the tree on a beautiful morning
Howdy from snowy Fernie
Neal and the boys playing in the powder at Fernie
The second day was very chilly but fun all the same 🙂
The treacherous trip back
Helping some poor guy out at the hotel parking lot!
Tank the momma and baby Eunice, welcome spring 🙂
So happy new year everyone 🙂 I hope 2017 is treating you all well and that you are staying warm. Hopefully all the bitter cold weather is behind us as spring is very slowly approaching but every day brings us one day closer to the growing season.
Things are very quiet around the Ranch at this time of year but we do have a few things happening:
- Neal attended the PCF AGM in Lethbridge last week
- We have posted our summer range technician position to all the Universities, if you know some one who is interested feel free to contact us for more info
- We have begun implementing our invasive weed management plan for this year starting with burning of downy brome on the Ranch
- Neal is attending the AIA annual conference in Banff again this year
- Neal is actively working on his pesticide applicators course and trying hard to love it
This winter has been foggy and cold, I have no pictures to share 😦 But I most certainly will have some for February. Until then stay warm and happy! I can hardly wait to hear what the ground hog has to say about our spring weather!!!
Shannon, Neal and the boys