Pasture Management

Having large animals who eat mostly grass, and not having infinite amounts of the stuff, pasture management becomes a very important issue.
Last summer, we made the decision to cross fence our pasture into 2 smaller ones. Not so small that they can’t run, play and still have good grazing. No, just needed to be able to let parts rest. Herbivores can be hard on the grass, and in no time, graze it down so much that it can’t recover.
I know, it seems silly to worry about grass. When I was in the city, my only worry about grass was if I got it cut on a weekly basis.
Now? I don’t cut my yard site.
In fact, my next big purchase (in the next couple of weeks) is going to be a scythe. I have 2 acres of “yard” which we use for garden, playing, bonfires, etc. In that are some spaces where, if I cut it, dry it and bale it, I could be putting up small amounts of hay. I’m not talking enough for winter. Oh, nope, not that much! Hay for winter for my 4 horses averages around 30-35,000 lbs…depending how cold the winter gets.

What I cold be putting up though, are small bales for the beginning of hay season…when the Hay Guy is still in the field, and it’s hard to pin him down to get him to deliver a load. If I have some small stuff on hand to hold out for a week or two, that gives us some wiggle room.
Or, a few small bales for the end of hay season, when I’m not 100% sure we’re ready to stop throwing hay down, but don’t want to open a 800lb bale.
Or, bales for chickens to enjoy and play in, come the inevitable winter doldrums…or, even hay for next years piggies…though, I’ll likely save any moldy stuff we have for them. I did that this past winter, knowing we were going to get piggies, saved (instead of burning) the 2 moldy bales we had for them to enjoy. And they are!
I also have to add…our Hay Guy rules! lol
When we get a bad bale, he replaces it, free.
Now, I know that’s how a good hay supplier should work, but trust me, they don’t all work that way.
Even better though, is that we rarely get a bad bale. I mean, bad bits in a bale can, and do happen. I just pull this out and go on feeding. But, a whole bale? Very, very rare to lose a whole bale, with this fellow.
Unlike our first hay guy.
While the bales that were good were gorgeous, and the Girls did fantastic on them, the ones that were bad were full of foxtail. Like, “burn the whole freaking bale” bad. Not such a big deal if you have cows, really, really big deal when you have horses. So, yeah, we didn’t go back to him.
When we had the chance to switch to our current Hay Guy, we jumped at it, and we were very happy that he was able to add us to his client list.

Anyways…
Here’s a few pictures to show why rotational grazing and poop picking are important parts of pasture management…yes, even in the pasture, I go out every couple of days and pick poop up and move it to the compost pile. When it gets to be too much poop to pick, we hook the chain drag to the tractor and drag the pasture.
These shots are all from the front pasture last night.

Ruby in the front pasture...

Ruby, grass hiding her hooves…

Not that long ago, they got a good solid day grazing in the front, and then we got rain and heat. Now, you can’t tell they grazed there at all. Not by looking at it.

Sable under the trees...

Sable under the trees…

Astrid found a tall grass spot...

Astrid found a tall grass spot…

Cookie, in one their favorite grazing spots...

Cookie, in one their favorite grazing spots…

And they all look fabulous.
Good pasture management means that they can graze all summer long, without me having to give them hay. That’s always going to be the goal here. Hay in the winter, pasture in the summer.
The best way to do that is to give the grass time to rest when we can, fertilize it, and let the Girls trim it. πŸ™‚
And let Mother Nature do the rest.

Lovely bum!

Lovely bum!

Miserable Cow Monday…

…Slid right into Testy Don’t-Touch-Me Tuesday.

This one…

Miserable Cow

Miserable Cow

Had her miserable cow face on yesterday, and wanted nothing to with any one or anything. In fact, every time one of the other 3 went near her, she’d pin her ears at them.
Tried it with me too, which resulted in the “I don’t f***ing think so” voice, and the threat of thumping her right between her pretty ears if she didn’t unpin them RIGHT NOW.
I don’t put up with ears being pinned at me…ever.

Turns out, she had a crazy chunk of ice in her right front hoof. Took me a bit to lever it out…part of that was because she kept trying to take her foot back. Balance, we’re still working on it. Oh, and she was being a miserable cow.
It looks like she’s got a bit of a bruise on the sole from it. I brought the chunk itself in to melt, just to be sure that it was just ice, not anything nasty in the ice that was causing pain.
Thankfully, just ice.
The things I do for those nags. *rolls eyes*

This morning though, she seems to be just fine.
Just doesn’t want to be touched. Her “leave me alone” vibe is very strong today. Grumpy ass. I told her she’d better quit acting like a Miserable Cow, because if anything happens to me, there is no one else who is willing to put up with her shit, unless she stops being such a Miserable Cow, so Hubby might just put a bullet in her and bury us together.
LOL!
We’ve actually talked about that…I’ve told him, he can do that, if he doesn’t want to deal with her shit, if I die first. I know full well that I put up with more of her Mare Moods than any other person on the planet would. I take more of her anti-social crap than anyone else would. I’ve invested a lot of time, effort, patience and love in Her Miserableness, and I don’t expect any one else to, after I’m gone.
So, I tell Hubby, I won’t be the angry, vengeful ghost if he sends her across The Bridge after me.
I’ll understand.
100% πŸ˜‰

"Ya make me laugh, Mom!"

“Ya make me laugh, Mom! I’m an absolute delight to live with, and you know it!”

Still Out Here!!

We are in the midst of a Spring snow storm. Being on satellite internet, my reception is spotty at best. So, if anyone has wondered why I’m not online, well, that’s why. Instead, I’m working on jewelry and editing photos…Dreaming of sunshine, green green grass, and working with my sweet hearted Dork.

<3

❀ my big sleepy Girl ❀

Just to give you an idea of what it’s like here right now…it’s 8 am, I’m using offline mode to write, and when I got online that picture ^^^ took 15 minutes to load. Compared to 45 seconds. Hopefully, when I hit post, it’ll go through.
See y’all when the weather clears!! πŸ˜€

J is for Job

Here on the farm I have a few jobs. There is the day-to-day job of being a stay at home wife. I look after the house, The Kid and Hubby. Do dishes, cook, laundry…all the normal stuff.

I also sew. I make moccasins. Saddle pads. Repair clothes. Pants. Just about anything that can be sewn, I can, and do, do. I’ve even done a wedding gown or two in my sewing career. *shudders* As fun as they were, I don’t particularly want to take one on again…it’s a lot of work, for a relatively small amount of pay.

A sample pair of moccasins I did for a customer.

A sample pair of moccasins I did for a customer.

Saddle pad fabrics, waiting to be cut and sewn.

Saddle pad fabrics, waiting to be cut and sewn.

There is a huge interest in camo saddle pads right now. I am more than happy to sew them up and capitalize on that interest! That snow camo in the front is for me though. I want to see how it looks on Cookie. If I don’t like the look of it on her (with Cookie Monster blue binding and straps), then I’ll put it up for sale too.

Another one of my jobs (and this is the one I am actually trained to do) is Goldsmith.
Now, I can work in a traditional setting, doing repairs, making traditional jewelry, but folks, if you’ve learned anything about me reading here, you know full well, I am no traditional anything. πŸ˜› I much prefer to go my own way, which means I have limited clientele.Β  When I produce a piece of jewelry,Β  it’s a one of a kind. That suit me just fine. A while back, I showed you what I was doing with hoof clippings, in the Sableine post. Here’s my 2 favorite personal pieces, that are in the same style…

Bear claw, copper, Baltic amber

Bear claw, copper, Baltic amber

African lion claw, 22kt gold and wulfenite

African lion claw, 22kt gold and wulfenite

The bear claw came to me via a friend of a friend. She had gotten it from a hunter who used the carcass to feed his family.

The lion claw is a much sadder story…we had a friend who was doing taxidermy. The hide of the lion was dropped off to him to mount, but it was in too poor of shape to mount, and the person never came back for it. He gifted me the claws that he could salvage, hoping I would use them somehow. I set this one, and I have one more that I have put away, until I get The Call to do something with it. Such a sad end, to be reduced to 2 claws left of what was once a majestic animal.

Another job I have, here on the farm, is I am the official photographer of Midnight Calico Farm. As such, I get to take all sorts of interesting photos (which y’all get to see every time you drop in), and sometimes, I get to design some crazy photo shoots for the horses…for example, I have this on loan for the weekend:

German HelmetThat would be a WW2 German helmet, and I got 4 pretty heads out in the pasture that it will sit on. πŸ™‚

I also get to take pictures like this…

hello birdie!This is why I don’t pull out dead plants in the fall. It’s not really because I’m lazy, it’s because the birds enjoy the seeds in the winter. πŸ˜‰

As a part of being the Farm Photographer, I have created a line of cards for sale. Images come from the fun photo shoots done here, and money goes into the expansion of pastures, purchase of hay, and of course, pads the vet fund, because with 4 horses, one never, ever knows when an injury will occur. And they will occur. Horses are just like that!

Card backs and photos to attach

Card backs and photos to attach

Cards2

I like to have a removable print, so folks can use as art afterwards.

Cards are a set of 4 for $12. You can buy individuals too, at $3.50 each. In the next week or so, you’ll see a new page on the sidebar, where the information for ordering from us will be.
Or, you can find us on Facebook.

So, there you have it. Those are some of my jobs on the farm. Truth be told though, my biggest job, after feeding every one is this…

A mountain of well-used straw

A mountain of well-used straw

Yep, my main job is as a Manure Removal Expert.
And trust me, I am an expert!

J is for Job.

Sharing with Jenny Matlock’s Aphabe-Thursday.