Happy New Year 2018

MOice17

Sun setting after an ice storm a few years ago. Sparkly and frigid like today.

It’s been awhile since posting — because I have not gotten out to take pictures of calves. Now I can go out and take pictures of calves and cold winter!

As always in Missouri, we are at the fringe of jet stream acrobatics. That means we never know what’s going on. Today, I could see a snow-cloud shelf heading north to northwest, but the sun was shining here. The farm is in the cold belt however. We expect -10 wind chill for the first second of 2018 — no bonfires that night!

Yeah, bonfires do warm things up, but on nights like this New Year, you can melt your coat trying to stay warm on only one side! Dancing around the fire is to keep rolling the warmth more than joy of dancing flame. There is that, too, though…

CowJam’s 5th

cowJam2017CowJam returned to the ranch after the inaugural event in 2012. Just so you know, it’s a chance to jam out in a space where no one cares about the noise, the bonfires or the bad-ish jokes… Purdue college friends get together to celebrate music and laugh about their lives before they really got out into the world… where they all fashioned quite different lives, unimaginable back then. We think the cows at least perked up ears for melodies and rhythms fronting the wind through hills and valleys during perfect cool afternoons and evenings at the farm.

Of butterflies and weeds

MBrealSo here is the real Monarch caterpillar chewing on an orange Butterfly Weed. The butterfly that laid the egg on the weed was born in the southern United States of Mexican parentage, destined to make little caterpillars in the northern states before returning to dust. This one is extraordinary. It will fly all the way back to Mexico to overwinter with other butterflies — in clusters that can be heavy enough to break tree limbs. Imagine anything about a butterfly that could be “heavy”…

I also discovered, from the Missouri Department of Conservation, that Monarchs, in all their life stages, are poisonous to potential predators. Milkweeds carry toxins that transfer in various toxicities to the insects — signaled by their distinctive orange and black color, of course.

I have discovered, beautiful as they are, Monarchs are extraordinarily strong and dangerous. I’ve been thinking of a lot of goofy farm parallels, but best leave it alone… It’s nice to have flashy, flighty visitors beginning from so far away every year.