I’m writing to you from this strange no-man’s land of time that lies between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. I’ve got plenty to do, but I’m not sure what I can tackle before all the New Year festivities start, including the one here at Clearview Ranch.
As soon as our company from Christmas left, Lisa, three of our boys and I loaded up and drove out to one of our pastures to check an assortment of critters wintering there. The menagerie includes a handful of geldings, some young fillies and colts, a pregnant mare, three old longhorn steers and a first calf heifer. I’ve been gone quite a bit here lately and have grown worried about the condition of our place, so getting out and checking things was just right for me as I hadn’t laid eyes on that back pasture or its inhabitants in weeks. Even though we have great help, some things just have to be seen with your own eyes in the end.
It all started Christmas morning when I went out to my woodpile to get an armload of firewood and was startled to find my supply of piñon and cedar was within a few days of being gone. Out here you don’t want to run out of wood in the dead of winter, but fortunately for me, I was able to call a friend in Cimarron who had a fresh cord cut and loaded on his truck. This was a relief, but with inclement weather on its way it started a whole new set of worries.
At the top of my list, once I knew we had wood for the family, was worrying about our grass and the critters, so that’s when we decided to go out and take a look. Our summer pasture steers had stayed till mid-October and I was fearful our grass wouldn’t hold till the new green comes in the spring. I breathed a silent prayer of thanks when I found plenty of tall Broam as well as Grama grasses still across the entire place.
That was all well and good, but while out in the pasture I noticed that the water level in the pond was low, too low to last until the spring runoff. Our summer steers and the roaming elk herds had sucked it down. Out here we depend on water that comes from snowmelt; in the spring this snowmelt runs out of the high country down to a lake. When the lake gets full, it spills over and runs down an ancient ditch to our ponds. We get all our water from this source and what we get at the end of the summer has to last through the fall and winter till late spring. We were in a jam for sure and it was gonna take some cowboy creativity to make this one work.
Well, Sunday after church, on the way home, I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw water running down the ditch right to our stock ponds. How could this be? Well, it would seem that although it’s dry and dusty down here, the mountains are getting snow on our side. It would also seem that although it’s the dead of winter, it’s been unseasonably warm these past few weeks and our glorious New Mexico sunshine turned the fresh fallen snow into much needed water for those of us downhill.
And so, as promised, the good Lord has provided the essentials for life out here on the ranch, and for us, it’s wood, grass and water!
I wish for you, my friends, an abundance of wood, grass and water, or whatever they stand for in your life, full and over-flowing in the coming New Year, and the faith that He will provide them. Till then, God Speed, and I’ll be looking for you on the trail ahead.