Rocks and Rain in January

On our walk the other day the stock dogs and I detoured off the road and headed across the neighbouring crop field.  Just a walk that day, so I was on foot and happened across a nice grey, flat stone.  I stooped to pick it up and paused there, holding the solid, cool wonder of it in my hand for a moment.  The dogs raced back to see what I had found.  They took a sniff, seemed to shrug their shoulders and carried on.  They hold no questions about such things.  Me on the other hand, I was in awe (and a little concerned) that it is January on the Northern Prairie - and it’s above zero degrees Celsius and I’m finding stones and taking them home with me.

The field we were in is a flax stubble field and the stubble of flax plants is thin.  There is no straw cover because the straw left over after harvest is harrowed into rows or piles and then burned in the early winter.  This leaves behind strips of naked, blackened earth, which warms up quickly if the sun can reach it.  The continual cropping practices means the earth has no protection here.  This field was barren going into winter and will be barren coming out of winter. 

The recent warm weather and full sunlight are making quick work of the snow cover, and fields like this, with little cover, are the first to become exposed and begin drying out.  It’s really rather dismal and doomsday looking.  I think the land owners could use a few sheep to help turn it around. 

The wonder of the weather didn’t stop there.  Yesterday it rained.  The sheep and I hardly know what to do with rain in January.  They went wandering, looking for food that wasn’t hay.  Today was very windy but stunningly gorgeous, with full sun and above zero temperatures.  A beautiful evening to try for some photos - except that the camera battery died.

The ice on the wetlands is already melting

Soaking up the rare warmth from a January sun


  1. That is one handsome dog! I too am worried about the odd weather :-/.

  2. :-) That dog is Whiskey, and he is a looker.


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