This year the rainy season has made up for past years. Big storms have sent water rushing through mountain-side milpas.
Campesinos with upland crops have been kept jumping by wind and a jungle of weeds that seemed set on uprooting fencing, by downhill chorros trying to turn every furrow into the Mississippi.
It reminds me of 1998. In that year, up where my friends and I did a lot of work, the soil is mostly clay, which during a heavy rainy season turns as slippery as a ski slope.
In August, an acquaintance who’d been hit with arthritis lent me a big bay gelding he didn’t like, hoping hard mountain work might take some stubborn corners off him. As the rains picked up, I used the bay to ride fence, a job nobody likes, looking for slack wire and loose posts where cattle, persistent critters, like to push though.
On a Monday morning I set out to do that and to round up some of the dry cows we had in a high rocky pasture. The morning was warm, but by the time it was light — though you couldn’t see the sun for the clouds — it seemed certain a storm was coming over the mountain. But I got a good lick of fence work done before it began. Wind, rain, weeds, skunks, weasles, rats, termites and, of course, livestock all work on the fencing, which is strung on palo dulce posts, interlaced with spiny branches of the huisache bush.
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