This year we have been blessed by abundant rain and the result of that rain is an amazing hay crop that we are right in the middle of harvesting. Before the rain we fertilized the fields and killed the winter grass and weeds. Then, we cut the hay, rake it into windrows and then let it cure properly in the sun. It has to be dry before we bail it. We don’t have final numbers yet, but this will surely be a record year for hay production at the Double Heart Ranch.
Almost everything that goes on at the ranch is dictated by weather. When we clear cedar we end up with huge piles of wood. We can only burn when the soil and grasses are wet and there is no wind. Sometimes that means waiting over a year to burn. Thankfully, today is perfect.
The Double Heart Ranch has a lot of cedar trees that drain the soil of moisture and kill off most of the native grass, so we have a continuing program to bulldoze the cedar trees where we have adequate topsoil to grow grass. What’s fun about the process is that we are continuing to find wonderful oak trees we didn’t even know where there. The cedar is so thick that you literally can’t crawl through it. The shot above is a before. The shot below is after we cleared.
The grass comes back quickly.
This young Axis deer found it’s way into our bull pens the other night. He is not a Texas native and likely escaped from one of our neighbors’ high fence pastures. You never know what you will see up here. We have several elk living on the ranch and have seen Mouflon sheep – all escaped exotics.
What’s so interesting is that we often see varieties of wildflowers that we have never seen before. Each year is different and these little yellow flowers are something new. The seeds must lie dormant for years and germinate when the weather conditions are right. These are the landscapes that are the inspiration for Gay’s paintings.
We’ve been blessed with a very wet spring. The El Nino weather pattern shift has brought us a wonderful spring. Here are some very happy Texas Longhorn cattle enjoying an overcast, rainy day. If you don’t know the history of these magnificent animals, follow this link to the Texas State Historical Association. It’s a fascinating story our family has been a part of since the 1800s.