Parking the Sheep
Once again, it’s mid-July and we’ve had no rain for weeks. Some finally fell this morning, and a major storm is brewing as I type, but it’s too late for us. We’re leaving in 3 days for an actual trip, and there’s not enough grass for the sheep/cattle/llamas to eat while we’re gone. There might be grass in 6 days, but we’ll be gone by then.
So, what to do? Wave to the farmsitter as we drive away and wish her luck?
Nah, we wouldn’t do that. We like Bonnie and want her to keep coming to the farm.
So we have no choice but to set up big round bales for them to eat. Luckily the neighbor cut and baled our north pasture, so we actually have bales.
Each group of animals will have its own spot with shade, water, and hay. I call this ‘parking the sheep.’ Instead of the animals moving to a new spot every day, which they can no longer do because they’ve eaten all the grass and the grass needs time to regrow, they’ll just hang out in one place and munch on hay. Well, actually they’ll complain bitterly to Bonnie every day about the lack of fresh grass and make her feel bad, but when they get hungry enough they’ll eat the hay.
The rams will be safely behind the 8-wire fence. The cattle will be in the upper east pasture which has been inundated with Virginia creeper, which we hope they’ll eat. The sheep hate it, so it’s taken over a big chunk of the pasture.
This is why it’s a good idea to have a diverse farm—sheep will eat some weeds that cattle won’t, and cattle are supposed to eat some weeds that sheep won’t. When we return from our trip, I’m hoping to see all the Virginia creeper gone.
The sheep will be next door in the lower east pasture, on what is usually the lushest grass. If any grass is going to grow while we’re gone, it’s this grass.
So tomorrow Melissa will put the hay spear on the back of the tractor, and move the bales.
I’d show you a photo of the tractor, but… ahh, no camera.
I’d show you a photo of the hay bales, but…once again, no camera.
So here’s another piece of artwork which I did when we hosted an outdoor painting class on our farm. It photographed poorly, but doesn’t look half bad in person.