Perhaps you have noticed that even
in the very lightest breeze,
you can hear the voice of the cottonwood tree.
|(I can't find the original of this photo, so I have to settle for this one that I've edited. It ends up looking more like a painting.)|
I've always loved the tunnel of cottonwood trees that leads to the Big Pasture. For more than 100 years, Randy's ancestors brought cattle through the tree-lined road to the pasture on the Rattlesnake Creek. The ground was purchased in 1900 for about $4 per acre by August Brinkman, a great-great-great uncle of Randy's. Originally in a tract of 1,040 acres, 560 acres remain in the Fritzemeier family.
A few years ago, this location was designated as a Farm Bureau Century Farm. Randy's Grandpa, Clarence, and two of his brothers owned the pasture together. Now Randy and his cousin, Don, are the owners.
Traditionally, we don't move cattle to the Big Pasture before May 1. Randy says that's because it his grandpa and his great-uncles wanted to keep it fair for everyone. After weekend rains, we couldn't move the cattle on May Day. Instead, we were a day later in taking the mamas and babies to the summer pasture.
I knew that there were changes in the scenery. Randy had gotten a preview when they worked on rebuilding and repairing pasture fence. But this was my first venture down the road to the Big Pasture since county crews had torn out the bulk of the cottonwood trees.
The first time I went this spring, I was too busy driving a loaded trailer through the deep, muddy ruts to truly see the changes. After that first attempt down the road, we went an alternative route, adding 14 miles to each trip to the pasture but assuring that we wouldn't be stuck.
"I hear the cottonwoods whispering above ...
"The old hootie owl hootie-hoots to the dove ..."(It wasn't exactly an art song, but I digress.)
The mama cows probably couldn't care less about the scenery, but this mama will miss those old cottonwoods.
|From our pasture looking to the neighbor's pasture to the east.|
But maybe it's like "old home week" for their mamas as they return during their productive years to the pasture. I guess they'll show them the ropes!
It's not the bull's first rodeo at the Big Pasture either.