By Alkali Springs Correspondent
This is the time of the year that many folks wonder just how ol' March is going to come in and go out, for that matter.
Traditionally, many area ranchers wish for a mild March entrance as sort of a nice prelude to calving season. Calves do well when dry and not cold.
But these days, even ranchers are thinking that lots and lots of snow would be just fine, as well.
Conditions are far better than last year at this time, at least out in the beautiful Bear Paws. There are even huge drifts of snow these days. Something not seen at all last year. In fact, this would not be a bad way to go into March and April except for one thing. We were so wiped out last year by drought that there are no reserves at all, and it will take several good years to bring conditions back to normal. Or a flood or two.
But for now, there has been snow and heavy drifting in some places. That's a good sign that some potholes and springs might just begin to fill again this spring.
One old-timer always used to tell us that now is way too early to even begin to predict what the year is going to bring. His theory was to venture over to Clear Creek on the first day of creek fishing season (which is around the third weekend in May). When there, start looking up on the mountains. If there are still large drifts on the mountains the first day of fishing season, it is going to be a wet year.
We are surely having fun these days watching our cabin bird feeder. It seems like we get more and more birds and every squall brings in some other kind. Best of all though are the pine siskins. They love thistle seed. We put some in the thistle feeder and throw some on the ground, as well. Soon there will be some 30 to 40 pine siskins. The ground is just alive with them, as is the feeder. They will stay the afternoon. Later, pheasants come by along with chipmunks and feast on the leavings. And still later, rabbits come by and make a meal there, too.
One bird book says that those siskins love aspen groves, forests and are as acrobatic as any birds. That is true the way they hang upside down eating their thistle seed. Incredible. And then mix them with a broad mix of chickadees, sparrows, finches and woodpeckers these days, and the sight is great all through the daylight hours.