June 28th, 2015 by Ed Bruske
The livestock farmer soon learns it is possible to have too much of a good thing. This time of year, we are wishing our flock were a good deal larger to eat all the grass that’s growing up everywhere. But then by August, when the grass goes dormant under the blast of summer, we will be cursing the day we brought all these animals onto the farm.
Last year I spent a good part of each day creating new paddocks for our sheep and cow and goats out in the fields. This entails mowing paths for electric fencing and planting the fencing in 80-foot squares. This year in an attempt to come to grips with the grass/weed situation elsewhere on the property, I’ve spent more time mowing and whacking with the line trimmer and letting the animals direct themselves to graze large areas more or less at will
There is a place for mechanical mowing in the effort to control weeds. Although I hate to burn the fuel, there just aren’t enough ruminant mouths to handle everything when spring is in full flush. This way, we hope to open new areas of the farm to pasture and regular grazing. But there are some things I’d just as soon let grow wild, like these long carpets of spring wildflowers. which spread in great profusion along the driveway. Swaths of red clover here and there decorate the pastures.
Every year is different, of course. Two years ago, June saw one thunderstorm after another and we wondered if there’d be any hay to feed the animals in the fall. There was. This year, we experienced July in May. It was hot and dry and we wondered if there’d ever be enough rain to make things grow. Just a month later, the days are cool and often wet. When the sun shines, the valley fills with the clatter of machinery bringing in the hay we will need to feed our animals during the long winter to come.
For those of you who were concerned that The Slow Cook had been silent for too long, there was nothing terribly wrong except the hard drive on my computer died and had to be replaced. If you can avoid it, don’t let this ever happen to you.