Monday, April 23, 2018

Spring is Here!

Jan here, with an update from last Monday's post...

...because Spring has finally arrived in the Black Hills!

My dear husband and I packed a picnic supper last Thursday and made our way to one of our favorite places, Custer State Park.

The baby bison have begun to arrive and the mothers are eating All. The. Time. We noticed that the rangers have been giving them some hay to supplement the green grass, since much of the winter grazing burned off in November's fire.

But do you see the green in these pictures? Spring is here!

As always in the spring, the bison have lost weight. You can see it in their humps.

Do you see that divot in this cow's shoulder? The bison store fat in their humps all summer long, then live off that fat during the hard winter months. By spring you can see the ridge of their backbones and the hollow places above their shoulders.

This is what she'll look like in the fall - -

Okay, you're right. She won't look exactly like this, since this is a picture of a bull. But you can see the difference between April and October. This bull is wearing his winter coat and his hump is filled out. I'm sure he made it through the winter with no problems at all.

Another sign of spring is that the logging crews can get into the parts of the park that were hit worst during the fire last fall. They are going in and taking out the trees that didn't survive - in some places, entire mountainsides are bare. The wood will go to the mill where much of it will be turned into bedding for livestock. I know the sheep ranchers rely on the shaved wood bedding during lambing time.

And the final sign that spring is here? As soon as I turn in my newest book next week, I'm putting on my hiking boots and heading out to the Hills....

What is your favorite way to celebrate spring?

Jan Drexler lives in the Black Hills of South Dakota with her husband and growing family. When she isn't writing, she loves hiking in the Hills or satisfying her cross stitch addiction.

You can find Jan on Facebook, Jan Drexler, author, or her website, Jan


  1. Oh, this is magical country! This is the kind of place where you can sit and write historicals with the foresight and whimsy required to put yourself in those pioneer boots and keep on keepin' on!

    And thank you for the lesson on bison! I wouldn't have known about the fat pads... although I have a few of my own, LOL!

    And the advice about seeing things at 20mph or less... perfect!

    Jan, you always amaze and entertain.

    Hey, I brought some cookies to share although I should be eating SALAD with no dressing like... for months.


    But if we share the cookies, we thin the guilt!!!

    1. You're right, Ruthy! This is the kind of country that produces one of our favorite characters from "Oklahoma!" - Aunt Eller. Because when you see God's power in the prairie winds and feel His mercy in the spring sunshine, all you can do is open your hands and give everything to Him. Or as Aunt Eller put it - "Well, then."

      And yes! Please pass the cookies!

    2. Ruthy, my own sense of humor went straight to how I have put on a fat hump this winter! LOL

  2. Jan, I'm so glad you're finally getting some spring up there. And I always love the images you share from Custer State Park. I always find it interesting how animals have their instincts. They know it's time to replenish those humps. Giggle. I just had an image pop into my head. While we usually look in the mirror and think, "I need to get rid of this fat," the bison are thinking, "Man, I really need to add some fat."

    And there's your Monday dose of humor. :D


    1. LOL!

      Animals never worry about getting fat, do they? I know Thatcher would be his happiest if he got to eat everything his little doggy brain can imagine - not just the carefully measured amount of kibble I give him.

      But nobody likes a fat Corgi!

  3. Oh ladies as I will admit I would benefit from eating more salad I can't help but think someone has to have a few more rolls then the other otherwise we would all be considerd fat or skinny I guess depending on what way we look at it lol! We decided to change it up and do the badlands yesterday. Didn't see buffalo, but we saw TWO coyotes! Not as much green grass there.

    1. The Badlands got more snow than the Hills did last week, so they should be greening up soon!

    2. Katie, I hope you'll see some green soon, too!

  4. My favourite way to celebrate spring is ant killing. Woohoo...spring is finally here because the ants are roaming my house and I'm smacking them all over the place. I know, pretty ruthless for a vegetarian but I don't share with ants. Ever. :-)

    And I saw my first robin and crocus walking to church yesterday! It's suddenly really and truly spring.

    1. Don't you love sighting the first crocus? I'll have to go look at my crocuses during my lunch break. The last time I looked, I could see the top of the leaves peeking through.

      And I love that comment you slipped in there: "walking to church." I know you've been doing that for a while, but it still makes me smile all over. :-)

    2. Kav, we had a short battle with ants marching in through a crack in my backsplash tile beside my kitchen windowsill. I got the pest control guy out here quickly and have had no more problem. Ants drive me crazy!

    3. Kav when we were little brothers would dig up any hills! Now as an adult I want nothing to do with them so kill away!

  5. Kav! We've got robins here, now, too!!!! YAY!!!!! And migrating hawks, and I saw my SECOND BALD EAGLE just flying overhead as we came north from North Carolina... we were in Pennsylvania and there is was, soaring overhead.... and tiny sugar ants in the kitchen, too, Kav!

    But we treat now for the big black ones.... carpenter ants. We've got lots of trees and shade and they kind of thought they could nest in my roofs.... now a bunch of roofs later, and yearly treatment, they're not around as much. They've taken the hint, maybe?????