Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Native Grass

In the badlands of Wyoming, its not so much about the amount of moisture you get, but the timing of it. This has not been an exceptionally wet spring around our home place near Worland, but the native grasses are exquisite. 

This hill top is part of my great-great grandpa Bernard Neiber's homestead. Most everything here you see is native. Some sage brush, cactus in bloom, Yucca plants, which my grandma always liked, and other native grasses in the background. 

This tall blooming bunch grass is what has really caught Dad’s and my attention. 

So I called my buddy horticulturalist, John Flocchini, to get the species on some of these plants. This is what is locally called Needle and Thread. More formally, Hesperostipa comata. We don't recall seeing it this tall and fully bloomed before. Looks great. 

This form of crested wheatgrass also stands tall this year. Big and bunchy. 

Unfortunately, intermingled with some of this native grass is cheat grass. In typical badland country, you have different bunch grass with about 18" of dirt and rocks between the next native plant. Now different noxious weeds have crept in. And in some cases, choked out the native grass. Cheat grass is a fall germinating winter annual grass, which means in gets jump on the perennial grass by robbing the spring moisture. Then it dies out in mid-June spreading it's seed heads all across the country perpetuating the problem. 

I like to focus on the grass though. The thing with prairie grass is that it packs a protein punch. It may be sparse, but there is a lot of nutritional value to what is to be found. Cows and sheep can do real well out here. 

This is the hill I hope to be laid to rest on. My homesteading grandparents, Bernard and Mary Neiber are buried up here, along with other relatives and neighbors. The hillside is so Wyoming, sagebrush, sporadic bunch grass, and a lot of dirt and rocks. I love it. 

Good stuff. Not every spring stands out like this one. But when it does, you better stop and take some pictures. Native grass gives me hope. There's always weeds in the world, our Lord said there would be. But He also says, be of good cheer. I have overcome the world (John 1633). Let's ranch. 

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