Sunday, August 9, 2020

Hot And Dry

Late June and early July offered a stretch of great hay weather - hot, dry days with low humidity and only a few soaking rains which we could see coming and dodged around.  Unfortunately, it has stayed that way.  I love hot weather and look forward to summer more than most people but unrelenting heat with no rain is tough on the sheep and harder on the pastures.  We can manage the flock to keep them in the shade and under fans during the day but no rain just slows grass growth until it gives up and goes dormant.  We rotate the flock through different pastures but for the plan to work we have to have regrowth in the pastures they leave so there's something to come back to later.

Right now they are in the first pasture for the second time.  Normally it would be lush and growing as fast as they could eat it.  This year it's barely half the volume it should be and what's there is almost crispy in some places.  They graze it down and there it stays. 

Most of them are in good shape right now and the pasture includes a lot of clover which is very nutritious but they do spend more time than usual walking around looking for the best areas.

The section in the foreground has just been clipped back.  The farther pasture with the sheep should be much greener with fresh growth.  Not so much.  :-/

The field at the bottom of the slope is the next one they will go to.  It's showing some growth but not much.  Also depressing are all the dead ash trees standing in the woods, killed by the Emerald Ash Borer.  Will ash exist in 50 years or will it go the way of the American Chestnut?  Guess I won't be here to find out.

Andy just finished clipping the pasture they most recently vacated and fertilized it too.  Now it just needs rain.

It's easy to get anxious when something as critical as weather is so totally out of your control.  A good remedy is a walk and Holly is always ready to assist.

Pie helps too, but I didn't have any handy.  ;-)

Sunday, August 2, 2020

When Antiques Aren't Cool

I love antiques like crazy - antique cars, tractors, furniture, prints and lithographs, tools and dishes.  I'm not so much a fan of antique power poles.

The electric poles that run through our sheep pastures are the originals, having been set in 1946.  Yes, that's 74 years of weathering and abuse by the elements.  Almost four years ago the power company determined that the poles could fail soon and should be replaced.  (Ya think?) 

The cross arms rotted off decades ago and they mounted the wires directly onto the poles.

Since declaring the poles unsafe, the guy wire on one of them broke leaving the pole tilted at a twenty degree angle and had to be replaced (just the wire, not the pole) and the pole just off our property in the neighbor's field broke over completely and had to be replaced.

We are increasingly nervous about this situation.  Multiple calls to the power company representative for this area over the last couple of years to prod them about replacements yielded only vague promises that 'you are on the list - it should be a few months'.  Last month we climbed up the food chain a few rungs and discovered that the field man for this area had never even made a work order for doing replacements.  They assure us that a work number now exists and rattled it off to us so that we could call and check on the job's status, so I guess that's something.

The poles are hollow at ground level thanks to ants and rot.

The center pole, without a guy wire, is taking a decided lean and is probably kept upright by the wires to other poles and Divine Grace.

We've taken to bringing the sheep in from the field any time there's a storm with even moderate wind which is tiresome and nerve-wracking.  This is not something we can fix ourselves nor hire done so we just have to wait and remind them that they do NOT want to pay a lawsuit for electrocuted livestock. 

We are patient people but this is getting ridiculous.