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. ;-)