Sunday, May 25, 2014

Pasture Perfect

Finally, finally we are having decent spring weather and the grass is growing as it should.  It's been a late spring in our area and even two days ago it was pouring rain and 46 degrees.  We decided not to try to plant any corn this year.  Our growing season is short anyway due to our elevation for most of the varieties of field corn.  We need a type that will reach maturity (dry ears for picking) in 72-76 days.  More that 80 days and it's a real gamble whether it will mature before frost kills the plant.  Since we're already starting out cold and wet and couldn't get the ground fitted for planting up to this point it's really slim odds that we'd ever make it this year.  So, the seed and fertilizer can sit in storage until next spring.  Thankfully we have enough corn in the cribs that the sheep will have all they need for the next 18 months or so.

The pastures have finally come on fully and the ewes with lambs can be out all day.  We let them out after chores are done and the sun has had a chance to dry the grass and hopefully drive any parasite larva off the foliage and down toward the ground.  There's a morning parade and some lamb is always a bit dim and gets behind the gate inside until Andy shoos them out. 

I took the next video about 10 days ago and if you look at the hills there isn't that much difference in the foliage on the trees.  The majority of them are still barely begining to leaf out.  (And I have no idea what that buzzing noise halfway through the video is. Signals from the mother ship, maybe.)
We still have the unbred animals separated from the ewe and lamb flock just because it works out well space-wise.  We've begun letting them have pasture out the back side of the barn for half an hour morning and late afternoon to let them become acclimated to fresh forage again.  I've been going out then with Peanut and she's taken to grazing much more easily than Flopsy did last year
"I'm gonna EAT dis ting."
"And dis ting too."
"And DIS ting!"
We invested in some new snow fence as a temporary barrier to keep the sheep from traipsing all over the pasture.  The area at the back of the barn tends to get trampled rather than eaten as they rush out to see where the Very Best Spot in the field is.  I do have electronet and use it carefully but we find the snow fence to make a good visual barrier and is effective physically too.  It also gives us peace of mind that we aren't going to find some horrible entanglement situation.  It's not as easy to erect or move but we like it.
The nice lush grass is eyeball high.
Fortune has grown into a pretty young lady Cotswold.  I know - heresy! - I've taken off all the dreadlocks from the Cotswolds.  I know it's their "look" but the reality is that we had some alfalfa with burdock in it and everyone's forelock was a trashed mess so we buzzed them off at shearing and they can all start over.
She noticed Peanut....
....but wasn't particularly interested and walked on by.
Daisy on the other hand gave her a good smell-over but was very kind and didn't get bossy.
Snubby was making the most of it.  She has trouble getting her nose in the feeder so we let her have a slice of alfalfa morning and night in a small pen.  She loves it but of course grass is better!
They got rained on the other day and the wool has grown back enough that you can really see the curls coming out on the Cotswolds.
Daffodil at 12 is currently the oldest flock member.  Made it to another grass season, old girl!
It's a pretty good life when your nose is in young clover.


  1. Oh how I envy you with all that green, green grass. My poor sheep only have grass hay now. And, now I am finding it stuck in their wool. Price of hay is going to be outrageous this summer, new load coming this week.

  2. Thank you for sharing such special moments at your farm!! Love it!

  3. Love the video! Knee deep for sure.

  4. I love the little pink ear that pops up in the beginning of the second video -- it is Peanut, right?

    1. Yup, front and center "helping" me. :-)