My Side of the State
On my side of the state of Montana, the brown of dying and extreme drought stricken fields extends from the header of my swather, past the occasional green weed and even more rare evergreen tree, to the horizon.
The brown is then exchanged for grey from the remnants of a multitude of fires here in our state and across Canada.
I’ve begun measuring the intensity of the smoke by whether or not I can see Tower hill, to the south, out my kitchen window. On days where the grey of smoke is intense, the only blue left in the expansive Big Sky is right above me.
Everyday I hear of another fire. Some put out quickly by fast responding neighbors. Others rage and lap up fields, pastures, livestock, and homes and remain out of control.
Livestock in pastures away from the raging and uncontrolled fires need to be moved to different pastures as they are quickly eating up what’s there. Pastures that were once thick with knee to waist-high grass are dead and bare.
Vehicles with filled water tanks in the back, dot the thirsty landscape. No one is taking risks.
Taking risks is inherent in the lifestyle many have chosen on this side of the state. Each farmer and rancher tries to minimize the risk in his or her operation.
This year we’ll make huge, pocketbook affecting cuts so that we have food enough for our livestock. Jobs in town will be procured. Fervent prayers, for the drought to end, will continue.