A Farm in June

Arriving at our Littleton farm, we found the foliage more lush and green than at any time since we bought the property (in 1990), a testament to recent storms and heavy rain. The pastures have grass as high as the fences and the trees and shrubs, often stressed by the semiarid climate of Colorado's Front Range, were as verdant as ever. Fortunately for us, sunny, mild days and clear, cool nights persisted during our visit.

Ripening mulberries and our ever-abundant juniper crop attracted flocks of robins, northern orioles and house finches while bushtits, chickadees, flickers and house wrens scoured the woodlots. Sharp-shinned hawks occasionally strafed the farm, hoping to snatch an unwary songbird, and Swainson's hawks soared above the fields. Double-crested cormorants, great blue herons, mallards and Canada geese often passed overhead and, in the evenings, black-crowned night herons moved toward the South Platte River. Though, with the exception of fox squirrels, mammals were seldom encountered, their calls, musk and carrion told of nocturnal hunts. As is typical in June, garter snakes were abundant on the farm, feasting on earthworms, young mice and on the growing hordes of insects.

Prairie flax, roses and spirea offered pockets of color but rich greens and a deep blue sky dominated the scenery. Though yard work and maintenance occupied much of our time, this background of natural splendor was, as always, the highlight of our visit. A farm in June in Colorado: is there a better place to be?