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Posts Tagged ‘autumn’

Fall Games 2014

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

The calendar does not lie. It really is October, but it does not feel like it at all. In fact, I don’t think we have had such heat and humidity in October in my lifetime. It is just as hot as the summer. The meteorologist from Houston marveled over the dew point last week stating that it was typical of June and July, not October.

Fall is supposed to mean sweaters in the early morning and evening. Soups and fresh bread. Campfires to sit around at night and tell tall tales. Pumpkins and autumnal foliage. In this part of Texas we have so many evergreens that we have very little leaf color, but even that is not visible.

Fall is also time for hunting. I see deer corn flying off the shelf and loaded down pick-up trucks with deer feeders and ATVs cruising down the roads. Camouflage is everywhere. Dove season has already begun. Regular deer season is fast approaching and bow season is already here. It sure does not feel like it though. Hunters like the cooler temperatures because it helps to get the game moving.

Another big game in the fall is football. Whether you prefer professional, collegiate, or high school level play, there are games being fought out everywhere. Again it is just too unseasonably warm to truly enjoy the game. You shouldn’t have to wear shorts and flip flops, slather yourself with sunscreen, and swat mosquitoes the whole time.

There is just something missing this fall, and it is the crisp air, the cooler temperatures, and colorful display of change in nature. Autumn is one of my favorite seasons for the reasons listed above so if it wasn’t for hunters and football fanatics I would not even realize we were in October.

I am definitely no expert, but I did a little research to see what this type of autumn forecasts for winter. Apparently we are not to be fooled into thinking we are living in a perpetual summer. Winter will come and it will come with power. In fact the winters are usually so much harder that this time period allows us to stock our food supply even higher.

Since most of us have grocery stores we can visit year-round, maybe we should make sure we have sufficient firewood or natural gas. For ranchers having plenty of hay will be the issue. In other words, get prepared. Fall might not be here, but winter will be. In addition to the fall games of football and deer, mother nature is playing a game with us.

The Goose in the Back

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

At Cross Creek Cattle Company, we have been richly blessed. The cooler, autumnal temperatures brought much needed precipitation. After going so long without any measurable rain throughout the long summer months, when we finally received some, the ground soaked it up like a sponge. There was little if any runoff. Consequently, the level of the lakes and ponds never increased drastically. Well, until this week.

The sides of our vehicles are splattered with mud. Coming home from an event yesterday and dressed nicely, I stepped carefully out of our car, but my long skirt swung and hit the side of the running board resulting in a narrow stripe of mud running parallel to the hemline. I stood there laughing for a moment because I cannot remember how long it has been since we had to contend with mud in our tires.

The soil’s thirst for moisture is quenched for now, and the excess water is filling ditches, flowing into ponds, and making puddles. The ground under our feet is spongy and wet. The grass is a brilliant Kelly green, reminiscent of the hills of Scotland. It truly is a feast for our eyes and food for our soul.

I feel like a child looking at the arrival of fall for the first time. My eyes delight in the wonders of creation and the works of our Creator. I stopped in my tracks to silently observe the geese flying in their ever-changing formation. The tired birds going to the back of the ranks to rest while the rested ones forge ahead, blazing the path, and fighting the currents. It was then that I recognized how tired I have been.

This summer has zapped my energy. The combination of the incessant heat and dryness has drained me. My soul is panting. Our bodies need time to rest, to refuel, to be refreshed. As I look around me, the rains have washed away the dust from my surroundings. The cool breeze has pushed away the heat. The change is invigorating.

The animals feel it, too. They have more energy. The horses run and kick and play like children let out to recess after a long day cooped up in a schoolroom.

The arrival of autumn is indeed refreshing. Does anyone else feel like the geese in the back of the flying pattern? I imagine it is the time of day that it really enjoys the journey. It gets to look around and see the sights. It doesn’t have to labor so hard against the elements. It rests just long enough before working its way back to the front. That is how I feel; I’m the goose in the back.

Simple Pleasures in Fall

Thursday, September 20th, 2012

Leaves from hanging from a Chinese Tallow tree in Autumn.  Painting by Lara DeHaven.

Leaves from hanging from a Chinese Tallow tree in Autumn. Painting by Lara DeHaven.

Spring and Fall are my favorite times of year. This weekend is the official beginning of autumn; however, we have enjoyed fall-like weather this past week. This morning it was 57 degrees!

We have all heard the saying, “Stop and smell the roses.” You don’t want to get so busy in life that you stop living in the present. When the seasons change, it always makes me so thankful for each one. I try to enjoy the simple pleasures in life in each season.

In the autumn, I enjoy the crisp coolness of the morning. My favorite thing to do is sit outside and drink my first cup of coffee. It was cool enough this morning that I could also snuggle up with a blanket. The ground was wet with the morning dew. The plants and trees look refreshed after the 4.2″ of rain we had this past week.

The deer are on the move crossing through the pastures. The squirrels are actively seeking fallen nuts and acorns. Migratory birds are beginning to pass through on their way further south. The coats on the horses and cows are beginning to thicken and grow longer. Everything is transitioning for colder weather.

Humans must transition too. We have firewood to split and pile. We have coats and jackets to dig out of the attic. We have favorite soup and chili recipes to prepare to make.

After the intense heat of the summer, fall means relief. It means falling back into a more structured life with school and activities starting again. Fall is a time for harvest, which includes grass fed beef. Autumnal colors will dot the landscape soon, and I look as forward to that as I do to spring flowers.

All of creation is showing the sweet signs of fall. Regardless of where you live, take the time to enjoy the simple pleasures of this season. It is only here for a short time.

Merry Autumn Days

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

My family is so enjoying the recent season change.  I know that most people don’t think that we have four seasons in Texas, but all things are relative.  The seasons are more subtle here than in the more northern regions.

The dog days of summer are over!  The temperature is so lovely.  There is a coolness to the air, which is borne on a constant light breeze.  There seems to be a collective sigh of relief from human and animal alike as the intense heat of summer has dissipated.

We have opened most of our windows to allow fresh air to circulate throughout our home.  Not only does this decrease our electricity bill, but the cool night air helps me sleep well.  The coyotes howl and yap.  The occasional owl hoots.  And, I sink deeper under my covers.

The kids spend most of their time outside to play in the sunshine.  Whether they are riding horses or jumping on a trampoline, they are enjoying the change in the weather, too.

We finished planting our fall garden, which is my favorite garden of the year.  We enjoy fresh greens, lettuce, and spinach well into the winter as well as cabbage and broccoli.  We planted leeks and onions too.  I love getting my hands dirty this time of year while the sun is not scorching your skin.

The deer are moving about in the coolness of the morning and evening.  Bucks strut about with their new antlers crowning their heads.  Just yesterday, we saw 2 bucks and 3 does crossing the pasture.  At the same time, we heard another buck snorting in the brush.

The horses seem more playful as they graze the green pastures.  Today several went for a full-body swim in the lake.  As they climbed out of the water, their coats glistened in the sun.

Like I said before, this is such a good time for both animals and humans.  It is one of my favorite times of the year.  Autumn ties with spring in my opinion.  However, I love the different qualities unique to each season, which is why I want to share a poem with you by Charles Dickens.

Merry Autumn Days

‘Tis pleasant on a fine spring morn
To see the buds expand,
‘Tis pleasant in the summer time
To see the fruitful land;
‘Tis pleasant on a winter’s night
To sit around the blaze,
But what are joys like these, my boys,
To merry autumn days!

We hail the merry Autumn days,
When leaves are turning red;
Because they’re far more beautiful
Than anyone has said,
We hail the merry harvest time,
The gayest of the year;
The time of rich and bounteous crops,
Rejoicing and good cheer.

Giving Thanks

Thursday, November 19th, 2009
November on the ranch.

November on the ranch.

Autumn is a beautiful time of year.  Some leaves are changing color.  Some evergreens are bearing bright red berries.  The air is crisp and cool.  The wind reminds you to put on a sweater.  Autumn is a great season to enjoy the outdoors.  The months of September, October, and November mark a busy time of year as well as several holidays.

My father’s favorite holiday is Thanksgiving.  Families come together to celebrate the many blessings that God has bestowed on us.  It is a holiday without the pressures of Christmas.  You don’t have to worry about buying and giving gifts.  You only have to cook and eat delicious foods prepared with loving hands.

Thanksgiving is also time of reflection.  A chance to reflect on your year and remember how blessed you are.  In the spirit of this holiday, I want to share with you some of the things that we are thankful for at Cross Creek Cattle Company.

  • We are thankful for our loving and close-knit family.
  • We are blessed to have so many good friends.
  • We love being able to enjoy healthy,  delicious meat on our dinner table whether from our grass fed herd or from the wild boars and deer that wander in the woods.
  • We are thankful to have good horses on which to ride and survey the beautiful scenery around the ranch regardless of the season.
  • We have been blessed with fat cows and green grass.
  • We are very thankful that health has been restored to the ranch manager after his accident.
  • We are lucky to have a substantial store of hay ready to supply our animals with needed food no matter how hard the winter gets.
  • We are thankful to have made it through the drought and to have finally received the much-needed rainfall.
  • We are grateful that we can live our lifestyle in the 21st century.
  • Last but not least, we are grateful for our customers who help support our family-owned and operated ranch.

From everyone at Cross Creek Cattle Company, we wish everyone a very “Happy Thanksgiving!”  May God continue to bless each and every one of us.

When to Feed Hay

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

In a typical year, we try to not put out bales of hay until after the Thanksgiving holiday.  This is a personal goal of Cross Creek Cattle Company.  With good rain throughout the summer months, our pastures can supply grasses for our cattle until then.  Unfortunately this year we had drought conditions.  For months we had no rainfall.

We prayed for fat cows and green grass, and we were blessed accordingly.  Some of our less fortunate neighbors were having to put out hay during the summer.  It was incredible.  Just yesterday, I was driving in the northern part of our county.  I was amazed at how bad all the pastures looked.  They had their herds on completely bare and brown pastures.  You have no choice as a rancher, but to give hay in this situation.

As the grass season comes to an end and autumn is in full swing, we stop rotating our pastures.  Instead, we open all the interior gates and allow the cattle to forge for themselves.  They can find the best grasses on their own.  They have that innate ability.

Now as winter time approaches, we are preparing to put out hay a few weeks early.  My dad is disappointed, but considering the year we have had I think we are doing well.  In fact we are doing better than most in our area.  The way I look at it, we made it to November.

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