It’s a trite statement, but spring is a busy time on our farm. Transitioning from the deep snows of winter to the blossoming beauty of spring is a not only an expectant time but also a time filled with chores to ready ourselves for the summer ahead. We are truly thankful to announce the birth of 27 yak babies that are happy, healthy, and enjoying the blue skies and warm temperatures on our farm south of Chama. Our pregnant momma yaks began delivering their babies in March, but stormy skies and continued snowfall had us extra concerned for our mommas and their new babies, so Ariel hovered over the them like a proverbial mother hen.
On these warm (and not so warm) days, Ariel is also working to clean out our acequias (ditches). Ditch maintenance is critical, so the waters do not seep out wastefully and unnecessarily and only enter the fields at the prescribed head gates. We have two main ditches from which we take water – the Barranco Ditch and the Cañones #1 Ditch. Our water rights date back to 1862 and are some of the oldest in the Chama Valley.
Due to the deep snows and extended winter this year, Ariel did not begin to irrigate the fields until recently. For the past few days he has been irrigating the southern hay fields with the waters from the Barranco Ditch. When those fields receive sufficient water, Ariel will shut off the head gate and open the head gate to another field. Throughout the summer he will continue to water the fields rotating every few days. When we receive sufficient rainfall Ariel will not open any head gates and simply allow the waters to flow through the ditches.
Throughout the winter we feed our yaks and cattle bountiful bales of grass hay. The hay comes from either our hay fields or our neighbors’ fields. These hay bales weigh approximately 1200-1300 lbs each. Generally we feed out 2-3 bales every other day, but as spring progresses the yaks and cattle naturally transition to the tender stems of the green grasses blanketing the pastures. In early June we will move the animals from our farm to the high meadows of the Wolf Creek Ranch, north of Chama. Both of these properties have been in my family for over 100 years.
Here’s to a terrific summer 2023!