Do you know those puzzles for pre schoolers, it is a flat board, they have wooden cut outs and the child has to fit the cut out, like a cow or something, into the hole of the same shape. Their little chubby hands wriggle and work at the shape and the hole until the shape is in the right position and with a satisfying click the cow drops into its cow shape and all is smooth and everything is in its rightful place.
It feels like that on the farm at the moment. Each winter fence is going up easily. I work alone and quickly. The animals watch me and accept their logical new pathways through the farm taking them from shelter to winter fields, with calm. Manu’s fence is finished, his new fence keeps the pigs off the newly sown fields sending him and Molly (soon) and Poppy (eventually) right to the back of their field for grazing.
In the winter I close most of the little fields so they can recover and avoid being nibbled into car parks. One field is nominated the sacrifice field this is where the cows will hang out for the whole winter fertilizing the field, nibbling and waiting for spring. Pastures are getting low and I have begun to load the hay up in the tractor bucket and drive it down the back to feed the black and white herd twice a day.
I always feed the hay to the animals as far from their water as I can go, forcing them to walk about. The hay is thrown down in small piles a cows length apart, cows poo when they eat (charming creatures) so we doon’t want them fouling the next pile of hay.
The two milk cows are still working by themselves, it is too much of a circus if I let them run with the others and then try to draft them out for milking every day. When they are dry they will join the others.
The Black and Tan Herd across on the West Side still have plenty of grass, probably enough for a couple of weeks or so – they only get a small amount of hay once a day so far. I HATE feeding out hay. I nibble around the edges of the piles pulling out old bits of hay – finding broken bales. I am always afraid of running out.
I have more cows than every before now.
One more fence to build today and then I am done.
In the winter I like to travel so I work hard to create a farm system that is easy for others to manage. When the milk cows are dry and the piglets are grown, the feeder pigs are fattening and the breeder pigs are lolling about together, things are pretty simple to manage. Even the chickens will stop laying soon as the days are shorter, they will get to roam free all day and take a break too.
I hope you have a lovely day.