May 2012 | Finally Going Green

It seems to have been a long haul of dust and red dirt this summer, but we have finally had some rain over the last 10 days and the pasture is germinating everywhere.  Because it has not been too cold and we have also had some days of sun, the growth has been quite rapid, to the point that over a five day period the horses stopped eating all the hay we were putting out, and the sheep stopped coming up for their hay.  By the end of the month pasture growth will stop until the weather warms up again, but it sure is nice to see the greenery and know that the rain water tanks are going the right way for a change.

The farmers have been busy the last few weeks raking and burning the left over stubble and fertilizing their paddocks before seeding.  Our paddocks have been fertilized the natural way (with semi rotational grazing and horse, sheep and cow poo), but next season we plan to have soil testing done so that we can apply trace elements and minerals as they are needed.  It will be interesting to see what pasture mix comes up this year, especially in the second paddock which had a large amount of flatweed in it last year (something that most people around here also experienced, so it was a season/weather thing rather than related to our soil).  We will be spreading some oat seed in that paddock before the next lot of rain and then shutting it off from the stock until the end of the year when we will either have it cut for hay or use it as standing hay again like we did last season.

We've had our share of illness and injury lately and I am well and truly ready to be over and done with.  A couple of months ago Tazzy bucked me off onto my head giving me a severe concussion for over a week, which led straight into a head cold followed by a big sinus infection all of which combined to completely wipe out nearly four weeks.  G was in the hospital last week and is back in for a small, unrelated surgery today, Taj had a grass seed abscess in his foot last week, Raj pony had scours for a week (finally narrowed it down to hay that was too rich for him), then Monday night just after dark he slipped in the mud and landed in the fence getting his front and back legs caught in the wire.

I saw him sitting down from the kitchen, this is not that unusual as when he rolls he sits like a dog to change sides, but after a couple of seconds, I was running out to see what the problem was.  Thank god he didn't panic because the wire was pulled tight on his front fetlock and above the hock on his hind leg, we are extremely grateful that all he did was scrape some hair off in two places above the hock, it could easily have been a broken bone or degloved leg.  Gave him (and us) a hell of a fright and he took off away from us, but did a 90 degree turn back to Miss B when she came out of the house calling him.  The bond between the two of them is just amazing, we couldn't have asked for a better pony for her and would be beyond devastated if anything ever happened to him.

On a brighter note (for me anyway, as it means less work;) I have been able to re-home two of our home grown frizzle roosters so they get to live out their lives as roosters instead of going to freezer camp...while the reason for breeding our own chickens *is* to eat the roosters, this lot are all bantams and honestly not worth the effort of plucking!  I've also given seven bantam hens to a friend and have another four to re-home...that leaves me with quite a few more than the dozen hens I had originally planned for when I decided to downsize, but I have kept three pekin hens and a roo for the time being because they are so cute and it would be nice to get some chicks from them next spring.  Hopefully, when they start laying again they will be happier being less crowded and we will get more eggs than we did last season!  In the meantime, I am impatiently waiting for the ducks to start laying some time in the next month or so.

I also have fingers, toes and everything crossed that I have found my next house cow...if everything goes to plan this time next week we will be drinking fresh sweet milk.  I'm trying not to get too excited until she actually steps foot on the place (in case something goes wrong and we don't end up getting her), but it's very hard not to be excited, I've wanted a jersey cow for as long as I can remember.  She has a five month old steer calf on her so the plan will be to share milk for the time being, and if she is in calf dry her off around August, and if she is not in calf I will look at getting her bred and if her milk production is suitable I'm considering a poddy calf to raise for additional beef (or even a week old jersey heifer to raise as back-up milker if I can find one).

Regular readers of this blog may notice that I have gone back and added posts which I will continue to do as I have time, in particular, to show the changes to the farm over the seasons.  I plan to keep a more regular posting schedule when the new cow comes as well, especially as I will need to record everything once I start cheesemaking.

The one below is not the best photo as it is very bright with a lot of dew on the grass and quite hazy with smoke out there this morning, but it shows the difference between the end of summer and the start of autumn I think.

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