|Rain and snow greeted newly arrived cattle in December 2009|
During the December to July grazing season, Cowboy V rotates the cattle between pastures, so it's important to start with all gates closed to control their movements and make sure they are efficiently clipping the grass. This time of year, overgrazing isn't a problem, there is enough thatch from last year and new growth is starting up. But later he will move the cattle from pasture to pasture every few weeks to keep them fed while allowing time for the grazed meadows to recover and start growing again. Soil, moisture, grass, cow, rest. Repeat for 8 months.
|The new interior fencing on the ranch has unbarbed wire on the bottom 3 strands|
which makes it friendlier to wildlife but is still strong enough to contain the cattle.
|Forked branch provides retreat above water level.Springbox shown with lid removed.|
Last weekend, I did the first wet season check of the Dipper Ranch ponds. The water was just starting to trickle through the Mallard Pond's outlet. Swirled duckweed on the pond surface showed the dancing visit of recent storms, but not enough rain to flush the floating summer plants downstream. All seemed tensely quiet at the Monotti Pond where cattails overtowered the still dry outlet.
|Mallard Pond in early season agitation|
|The Newt Pond is muddy while refilling.|
The cloudy water may hide newtlets from predators.
|Juvenile alligator lizard in the springbox.|
The juveniles look different than adults,
but have the same tough guy attitude.
Sierran treefrog, Pseudacris sierra
Coast range newt, Taricha torosa torosa
Northern alligator lizard, Elgaria coerulea
Duckweed, Lemna minor