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.