Saturday, March 29, 2008

Weekly Ranch Roundup

Well, not actually a "roundup", like gathering together cattle or horses or something. Just a quick summary of the events around the ranch for the last week or so.

A mix of weather with on again off again snow on some days. I think the total for the week might add up to less than three inches, but the switch over into warm spring days has not happened. No major projects were started. Just some minor relocation of a couple of gate panels and enjoying the spring break period before the real work resumes.

I continued my running training with a consistent four-miler every other day. I'm mixing in an indoor cycle workout on the non-run days. This will soon change to be an outdoor event (I hope). I haven't been much of a biker the last four years. Pretty amazing considering I was a regular bicycle commuter/recreational tourer and logged 3000 to 5000 miles a year for 25+ years. The move to being 'rancher-dan' changed my routine quite a bit. But, I hope to return to a more consistent and longer bike touring workout this summer. That, combined with the marathon training, ranch work, horse riding, and general tasks should make for a great time.

Well, the sun is shining again after an hour or so of snow squalls. Time to check on the animals again and get something done today.

For a video summary of the Weekly Ranch Roundup, just click the embedded link.

Monday, March 24, 2008

A Block of Time Goes By

Well the last several days (week plus) have gone by quickly. A couple of milestone events happened. Actual spring time began. The yard was raked (in a combination of sunny skies and snow squalls). Horse riding began for the year with a ride every day for six days in a row. And, last but not least, our 23rd wedding anniversary took place. It was a good week and then some.

March does seem to be the time of quite a number of anniversary events ... some good, like the above, and others, remembered for their time of sadness. My dad and my mom both died in March (1991 and 1996). My wife's dad died in March (197x ... before my time with her). Also, one of my co-workers died suddenly in March (back in 1994). Maybe March is a tough month since it is normally the transition month between winter and the new life spring brings?

Not much has happened on the new project area. So, most days are just the normal ranch routine. A not so common event during one of the daily walks this week was the sighting of a moose. He/she was lying just outside of the fence-line area one morning. I took a good number of pictures of him/her and posted a video on YouTube. He/she was browsing the area for a bit of time because after the morning walk sighting we came back to the house and did a number of regular morning projects. I went out at mid-day again and was able to get a number of new photos of him/her (still couldn't tell for sure, even with a closer look). One of the neighbors says it's a young bull. We'll see if it hangs around and try to get a closer look again sometime.

So ... just another several days at the ranch! (Click to view video log)

Friday, March 14, 2008

Spring Pasture Move

Well, this week, I moved the horses from the Winter Pasture to the Spring Pasture. The day I moved them, it was a little windy and a combination of the sounds of the creek flowing, tarps that cover the gravel pile, and the flag blowing in the wind only got the attention of Orpheus. The rest just walked up the driveway like it was another day at the ranch. In fact, when I went to get the 4th of the six, the last two, Corrie and Goldstar, followed through the gates and walked along with Harmony and me. Corrie walked over onto the lawn area for just a moment while I opened the paddock gate, but walked right in once it was open. It was a good move to the spring area. There was a bit of snow still in the pasture for the first day and overnight, but the temperatures have been mild enough that the snowline has almost moved all the way down to the summer pasture fenceline already.

No other major activities have taken place yet this outdoor season. Still a little blustery out there today with a snowfall of about 0.7" overnight -- but now already totally melted.

I did start my outdoor running season with two 3-mile out-and-back jogs up the blacktop. It was nice to be running outside again after a couple of months of treadmill workouts. I officially entered Grandma's Marathon that takes place in June in Duluth, Minnesota. This will be my 36th marathon and it's probably the 20th time I've run Grandma's. (I'll need to check my marathon log to verify this). I am still favoring a swollen right ankle that had some tendonitis show up in it last June. Maybe it's a chronic thing I'll just have to deal with until a real fix is done.

I plan to be a little better about following up my running workouts with biking treks this training period. Last year, I did try to do a biking of the running route after getting back from the run a couple of times, so I'll probably expand on that this year. But, mostly, I need to expand the biking sessions a bit, since I only consider the training benefit of biking to be about 1/2 of a running workout.

Another activity I'll do more of this season is increased horse riding. Last year, I only started riding in August. So, now that everyone at the ranch is fit again, I'll probably do more in the near term rather than waiting until so far into the summer.

So, in any case, spring is almost here, and the outdoor activities are beginning.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

The Spring Arrives Month

A View from the Deck

Spring is arriving slowly at the ranch, but day by day, changes are apparent. The driveway is all the way back to gravel, and it is almost time to move the horses to the spring pasture. The winter pasture has become tramped down to a mixture of hay droppings and some ice. Since the slope of the land in the area I call the spring pasture provides a faster melt-off, it won't be long before the snow disappears completely from it. The deer have already made an appearance on the Glazier slope, a big hill area just north of the ranch, with upward of 20 grazing during most late afternoons. The total snow pack is reduced with 3 to 4 inches in the sunny areas but still a depth of 10-15" in areas where the sun has little impact.

Deer grazing on the hill
It is just about time to start some outdoor projects. But, the last few days, I have been bringing a box of photo albums a day into the house from the arena/workshop storage area. These albums include many photographs that were packed up more than 10 years ago when mom died and stuff was packed up from her place. (Since I had a pickup truck, I ended up hauling most of the boxes). I'll probably start scanning pictures and putting them into some kind of order. Right now, like most things that are gathered over time, some albums have a combination of 60 year old images combined with more recent (12 year old) photos. It'll be a project.

So, get the indoor things done now, soon it will be outside for almost the full day.