August has sped by, and it’s now September. Living in the country always seems to involve work. So far we have painted the outside of the house, laid a floor, painted a bedroom and redone a bathroom. We spent two weekends volunteering for our community and two weekends helping my mother-in-law and our daughter and son-in-law (he tore is ACL) who both live in the city but needed the country Papa with his chainsaw and a big truck.
The weather has been amazing, hot and sunny (July was a record for zero precipitation). We pruned, mowed, watered, and then did it some more. Our next door neighbor was diagnosed with acute leukemia two month ago, we mow and water his place as well.
I picked berries, apricots, peaches and pears. Then I canned, the fruits of our labour. Vegetables are next. I love this time of year. The jars filled with fruit always sparkle like jewels in the sun.
We visited the osprey nest and have enjoyed the two little ones as they learned to fly using our yard as a flight lane to the lake. Very noisy when they fly over; either just joy of the flight or letting their mom know where they were. A large heron who must live down the creek or in the neighbouring lake also used our yard as a flight path at least five times a day, but never when I had the camera out, only a paint brush. I knew he was over head because of the shadow he cast.
The bees have really enjoyed the flower garden and the natural meadow. I enjoy my morning coffee with them. The stellar jays are back and hogging the bird feeders, the humming birds are gone until next year. Other migrating birds stop by for a feed and then continue on. Even the wasps have left their nest.
I still have a war with the burdock and now thistle. Trees needed to be felled. Spruce bud worm and pine beetle have not be kind to us. Old age for some has also set in.
I try to keep the camera handy hoping to catch sight of the bears and deer that have been eating their way through the back.They only seem to visit at night, or when I’m not home. I know they have been through because branches are bent, grass is trampled and scat remains.
Late one afternoon the dogs started barking, with that bark that means something is afoot. I quickly glanced out the door and over the deck to see something very big and brown move through my sight. Quick grab the camera….turn it on….focus and came face to face with…
Six beautiful cow-calf pairs, very healthy, with that stare of “what are you looking at?” Now I know I live on the cusp of free range grasslands but I have never had cows on the property before. They must have come up the creek because we are fenced and cross fenced from the road back. The closest rancher only has one pair, and they are caramel coloured. Our 15 month old Bernese Mountain Dog was ecstatic. Wow, can I go herd them? Let me show you I can do it. He ran from the deck to the gate and back, stared at them, gave them his best eye; they just stared back.
They had to belong to someone, they were tagged and branded. Do I let them be or try to move them through the gates to a more secure and safe field? They were enjoying the apples. We decided to let them be until we figured out where they belonged. It turns out they are owned by the native band and were quite a few kilometers from home. These poor moms were taking their calves to safer ground…. dirt bikers and quaders (usually city weekend warriors) have been tearing up the grasslands in their quest for speed and new trails. Even though it is private property, they are hard to catch, and have no respect for the ecology, wildlife or ranch animals.
I would loved to have kept them, but our property is not big enough to feed six cows. They got cowboyed back up to the ranch.
Yes it’s September. Summer has been good to us. Fall is on its way. Hard work is how we get ready for winter. It brings thoughts of impermanence but also a renewal. I found these beautiful flowers way off in the back bush. I think they are lady slippers. Let’s see if I can transplant them to the front for spring.