Spring in Montana is hard to define or to describe. We have a lot of nice spring days, but the worst blizzard I have experienced began on April 15 of 1973; I struggled to keep new-born calves alive in below zero weather in April of 1987; There are years when we are still feeding hay to the cows right up until the end of May.
But for this year, I declare spring to have arrived on April 19.
The first indication of spring was that the interior of my car was hot when I returned from my side-gig at Crow agency. I had to turn on the air conditioner. There was a boat being gassed up when I stopped to fill my tank. I saw several tractors out working in the fields as I drove home. Bugs began to accumulate on my windshield. And finally, I had to pick up beer cans along the county road passing across a corner of the ranch.
The snowstorms are indeed fewer in April, and the white stuff melts off quicker. The landscape is taking on a green cast. Days are longer. Most of the cows have calved, and they are eating less and less hay every day. Some ranches are branding. We’ve gotten a little fencing done.
But it’s still a long time until June. While there are little spears of grass poking out, there still is not nearly enough growth to sustain the plants, nor to sustain the cows. We’ll be feeding every day for a few more weeks. The fields are too wet to get any farming done.
And it's still too early to sit out on the deck drinking beer.