Growing Good Grass in Spring Storms

Yesterday morning, after doing the chores and various jobs around the farmy, Big Dog, TonTon, Mary’s Cat and I went for our usual early morning walk through the long grass down by the creek which is now a ditch, and along the fences, checking the boundaries,  

and out into the new fields. To grow grass fed cows and sheep we need to be farmers of good nutritious grass.  I have already told you about the ideal mix of grass, legumes and forbes for keeping an animal growing and healthy.  Producing a good crop of grass is important. Growing the right forage for an animal is important.

The Dairy Mistress Paddock, which is an acre of grass and clover, has begun to thicken and look like a real field.  The rain we have been having on and off, since I visited sunny  California, has been working like a magic growing potion. This weekend we will finish fencing it. I hope.  In two or three weeks I shall move some sheep in.  Cows are too heavy for the new grass at this point.

The Haymakers Paddock is slower as it is grass and alfalfa for the winter hay.  Did I tell you that John just purchased a sickle mower for the hay. An older gentleman brought it in for him the other day and told me that His father had bought it second hand in the early 70’s. Hmm. So this purchase fits in well with our recycle and reuse old fashioned farming policy.  Though it may need some oil!! 

I love these shots because it shows absolutely the return of the inert soil to meadow. All the empty fields around us will be planted in soybeans  this year.  This is how close we are to massive, industrial monoculture.  This is why I can never call myself organic.  This is why I feel smug about clawing land back from the monster machines.

Good morning. There was talk  of a tornado watch last night, so I opened the small barn doors for the animals before going to bed.   I was woken in the night by a  violent storm and Mama crying out from the field. The wind was furious and there were hard stony warning drops of rain smacking at the window. The storm was winding up.  TonTon and I went out with our torches to find Mama and the lambs sheltering in the lee of the chook house, they had lost their bearings in the gale. So I shone my torch on the door that opens into the barn and shelter and she crashed past me, almost knocked me over, in her rush to get the babies in there. Mia raced in after her, head down to avoid the escalating rain and Mama turned and head butted Mia straight back out the door. Mia was too close to the lambs. TonTon very sensibly, and immediately, jumped the wooden gate at the end of her pen to get out Mama’s way, his torch lighting a few surprised chickens, their three heads angled down at exactly the same tilt to watch the proceedings below. The beam curved  in a fast moving arc across the barn rafters caught a hint of surprised peacock blue, then landed in the barn corridor.  Where he paused to wait for me. TonTon carries his yellow flashlight by the handle, but it lights out to his side.  Not terribly useful, but at least I can see what he is passing!

After settling the lambs we went back to bed and the storm eased soon after. Just a bad storm, nothing too serious.

Mama’s health  is a lot better. The yoghurt treatment is great for upset multiple tummies.

I bought a big collar for  Daisy in the end. There were no XL halters in that store.  Daisy the Cow is not impressed. Yesterday afternoon I came out of the house to find her standing in the barn looking out the open big doors.  After her collar bestowing ceremony, and her tour of the milking room, I left her in the concrete yards to take herself back into her field. Apparently she had other ideas and  worried at one of the old interior door latches until it broke, then she was able to get into the center of the barn where the last of the hay is. In the corridor that leads to freedom. Thankfully instead of coming right out into the drive, she stopped for a snack, then chewed her cud while standing in the sun gazing out over the gardens. She is such a naughty cow. At least she was not playing with the light switches.

I had a friend over the other day and called to Daisy so she could meet her. Daisy raised her head, turned her massive 1500+ pound body and leapt up into a fast gallop across the field to the gate. My friend was shocked and stepped discreetly behind me.  She grew up around cows and she had never seen a cow gallop like a horse to get somewhere and she had Never seen such a huge cow come pounding towards her at speed like that.  And she had Never Ever seen a hugely pregnant cow running flat out like that. She thinks she is a horse, she said. She has good brakes though, I said.  (Well, you and I could tell her some stories about that Steeple Chase Cow couldn’t we?  Though to be kind it has been a while since she jumped a fence.)

Today is Old Codger Day. It seems the storms have died down, though the sky is still black with heavy clouds as the sun rises this morning.  We will zoom through our early morning work again, then get ready for our drive a-Cross Country to the retirement home.  Ton will be delighted.

Have a lovely day.


61 Comments on “Growing Good Grass in Spring Storms

  1. That Daisy cow is a liability! A very nice one though, I am sure. It’s lovely to have a view of outside and of all your positive actions when life isn’t quite the same here. Thank you. 🙂

  2. I have never encountered such a quirky cow L-) Your grasses look marvellous – may they reach the sky – you are greening the dustbowl of the prairie.

    • I think she scares the visitors on purpose, with me she usually trots over, I am beginning to think that this full gallop is reserved for visitors! Quirky indeed.. c

  3. Your animals have such personalities! I think you need to start writing children’s books with all of your stories. Instead of illustrations you should use your photographs.

    Daisy is hilarious!

    Hope you have a lovely day and I certainly hope you won’t have to deal with any tornadoes!

    ~ April

    • I have thought of turning some of the pages into a children’s book.. It would take some work but it would be good work. Though I would need a book publisher for it. Self e-publishing is just not the same with kids books.. c

      • In my early 20’s I took an online course for writing for children. It was really fun, but I never ended up doing anything with it! You would definitely need a publisher if you wanted to really get it “out there”. But, that’s not really as hard as is sounds. You just have to keep submitting it to publishers until someone who is smart runs across it and loves you like we all do! 😉

        • Finding a publisher does sound hard, can you do it as an attachment. Do you just send it out cold. I have no idea how this works at all.. But I would love to do it.. c

          • It’s been a long time…but I think you just mail it out kind of in manuscript form to as many publishers as you can. You can start off slowly by submitting your stories to children’s magazines, Reader’s Digest, etc. I believe that once the ball gets rolling and you’ve been accepted by a publisher they will work with you for editing, illustrations, photographs, book cover, etc. You can probably do a little research via Google just by looking up, How do I get my books/children’s books published.

    • I ditto that. I really think you have a talent and the kids would really get into it. No pressure… Just give it some thought.

  4. We are working towards ‘clawing’ our little piece of land back as well. It’s so good to see your success! You are such an inspiration. One of my goals has become to have the ‘farm feed the farm’.

    • Oh yes, the farm feeding the farm is a wonderful goal, Soon i will be counting free days, I love them.. c

  5. The grass shots were amazing; and the accompanying words…well, sad and encouraging at the same time. “This is why I can never call myself organic. This is why I feel smug about clawing land back from the monster machines.” Love it!

  6. Such a lot going on – the fields look wonderful. I notice here after rain then sun that you can almost see the grass growing! That sickle mower sounds great – tell John to be very careful with it though 😉

    • It is old old, so will need some work before it works, there are blades that need replacing and fitting it to a modern tractor etc.. c

  7. I completely agree with April. You’ve a wealth of material here for a children’s book … no, make that series. You need’t make anything up. The farmy will write them all for you. Daisy must’ve been quite a sight bounding over to answer your call! Your friend was surely startled. I wondered how much of last night’s storms reached you. I checked the weather maps before going to bed and it looked like you were on the very southern edge of the storm system. I was on the northern edge and there was plenty of storm between us. Enjoy your visit today with your friends!

    • Lucky for us i think. We were just swiped with the tail of the storm! And if today is warm again the growth will be amazing. morning john.. c

  8. Your grass is green, fresh and growing famously – it looks very healthy 🙂
    As for Daisy, she is quite the antic-prone lady is she not 😉
    Very sweet!

    Choc Chip Uru

  9. Ah, storms. Yes, we’ve had enough of those already in Minnesota. A bit of hail pounding the ground and tender leaves and plants in my community on Wednesday evening, but not enough to do damage. Then a funnel cloud spotted south of town and the sirens wailing. And two weekends ago, funnel clouds dipping in and out of cloud nears my brother’s home 120 miles to the west. We are quite thankful, though, for the much-needed rain and no tornado touch downs.

    • That must be so scary seeing the funnels building. they carry such destruction and you have no control at all on the outcome.. lets hope you stay safe audrey.. c

      • I did not see the recent funnel clouds and recall seeing only one as a child, developing to the east of our farm. But when I was a child, a devastating tornado hit a small town about 25 miles to the south, killing nine people. Viewing that destruction left a lasting impact on me and a deep appreciation/fear of the power of tornadoes.

        In 1980, a tornado struck the farm where I grew up, taking down a silo and the milkhouse, tossing silage wagons around the field and ripping a railing from the house. My mom was home alone and didn’t even have time to seek shelter. Thankfully the house was spared.

  10. Now Miss C you just go out and tell the tornado to turn around. We can’t have you all blowing away! Fields look good, thanks for yesterdays beautiful pics. You and Ton might have to sneak in and out if you’re on your own – the others will be disappointed.

    • It will be interesting this time at the retirement as everyone knows Ton now, but there will be no toys, that is just for the special days.. he will just have to settle for cuddling..c

  11. I love the way everything looks right after a big storm…the green simply *glows*, like it’s holding on to the energy the clouds discarded on their way through…
    Have a great time at the Old Folk’s Home, C…and give Ton Ton an ear-scratch for me. 🙂

  12. Lovely lush grass and you really made me laugh when Mama and Mia rushed in from the rain 😉

  13. Good Morning, Celi. It rained yesterday in our part of “sunny California” and was chilly besides. We had to turn on the heat for half an hour and wrap ourselves up in afghans, eat hot soup and hot chocolate. Tornadoes are rare here, thank goodness. Glad to hear that Mama is doing better.

  14. There is never a dull moment on the farmy, I don’t know where you find to write too!

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  16. Such wonderful photos, C. I just love looking out into your fields with the seemingly never-ending horizon. Ah, now imagining a race horse with Daisy’s personality:)!

  17. that is one funny cow! have you been invaded by stink bugs yet? one of their favorite foods is soybeans! i haven’t been able to plant veggies for the last 2 years because of them!

  18. You know, now that you mention it, I have never seen a cow bound across a field either! That must have been a sight! And I’m so glad you were able to get to the little lambs and provide comfort to Mama during the storm!! TonTon and the flashlight is a funny sight to see, I’m sure. He is trying to be helpful! Thank you for sharing the pictures of the “future soybean field” right up next to yours, also! I couldn’t really have imagined without the picture. All I can say is “wow”–you weren’t exaggerating one whit about being surrounded. You do have your work cut out for you. I send love for Old Codger day…your contribution to these older folks is just amazingly precious! Have a wonderful weekend, Celi. 😉 Debra

  19. That Daisy’s a hoot! no wonder your friend hid behind you. Glad that Mama’s feeling better but what on earth are you sneaking into Daisy’s diet to give her so much bounce?!!

  20. We had a horrible storm last night in Toronto, but we were all cuddled up in our cozy home. I cannot imagine how frightening it is for your flock. Glad nothing major came of it. I love that Daisy comes when she is called. We have a wild squirrel who comes when I call her…she flies over at full speed. Mind you, it’s not the same effect as a 1,500lb cow running toward you!
    Have a great weekend.

  21. Will there be enough seed set for you not to have to seed the paddocks yourself in future years? Of course, rotation makes that difficult. What would come up if you didn’t seed?

    • Every few years you can allow a field to go to seed, though I probably do not have enough land for that as it would have to be off the grid for that season, so instead i shall reseed with fresh seed every 5 or 6 years.. c

  22. Nothing like a storm to remind you how much the animals rely on you. What a scramble inside!
    You could easily do a children’s book/series. Hit the library and skim the section on children’s books in the current book: “2012 Writer’s Market” (there may be one just for children’s books, too)for general info and get a general idea of what’s involved – there’s a website, too. Greenway publishing in Canada used to produce lovely high quality children’s books – It’s an international business these days.
    Now I will go gaze at that wonderful 1st picture and remember the sounds and smells. thanks

  23. What a relationship you have with that galloping cow! What else would possess a pregnant giant with heavy teats to sprint across a paddock to greet you? Now that is something I could turn a tinge of green over! 😀

  24. I’m thinking about sneaking off to the United Farmers’ Association store to pick up some clover seed for my front lawn. Half of it will be garden boxes soon, but my husband does love a good stretch of green and the kids need something soft to trample. Clover is green, and sometimes it has flowers, and I have so many memories of carefully drawing out each tiny petal for that miniscule sip of sweet at the end…. Yes, I think we do need some clover 🙂 Thanks for the inspiration, c.

  25. That grass looks so healthy, and I love to think of it nudging its way across the earth after so much depletion. You are doing a fantastic job there on the farmy.

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  27. I had to laugh at the thought of Daisy barreling toward your friend, not something I could hardly imagine. And telling of Ton Ton’s flashlight was cute. Glad the weather wasn’t too bad.

  28. If I were a cow.. I think, no, I know, I’d want to be your cow;) Looking at those lush grasses.. the lovely lunches you serve your cows.. it’s no wonder your healthy Daisy can gallop around like a Super Cow:) xo Smidge

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