Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Frantically Cutting Hay

It's been a very rainy spring/early summer this year. Since mid-May, there hasn't been more than two or three days of dry weather at a time. I got some hay cut in May, but none since then. The old grain field is very weedy, so I've been cutting that down, but because of the constant rain I've just been composting the cut vegetation.

Finally, I seem to be getting a break. There's not supposed to be any rain until Sunday, so I spent several hours today cutting. Most of it is crownvetch, which gets very tangled, so it's hard work. Luckily, goats love crownvetch, and since it is a legume it probably has a decent protein content. It's not very palatable to cattle or horses, but goats think it's wonderful, especially when it's made into hay.

I plan to try to get out to the farm early tomorrow morning and cut some more before it gets too hot. As the week progresses, I'll transition from cutting to tedding to gathering to storing.

Chicken Chasing

I did a bad thing today. I let all the poultry out of their pen into the main pasture to forage (because I needed to spend my time cutting hay, not moving their pen). I expected that it would be easy to lure them back in with a scoop of grain, but that was not the case. Little heads popped up all over the field when I called them, but they immediately went back to foraging.

The Rhode Island Reds probably would have come back to the house after sunset, but the others are pretty flighty. Besides, I was very tired and didn't want to wait that long. So I stationed Cerra at the gate and told her to open it whenever I herded a chicken her way. The ducks were easy; I got them into the pen in a single flock and they were so traumatized that they didn't try to come out again (ducks are such nervous creatures). Chickens tend to scatter more than flock, so I was pretty resigned to chasing each of them individually.

Paul showed up when I was about halfway through and helped me round up the stragglers. I don't think I'll be letting them all out again any time soon.

Barn Beginnings

Well, really more of a shed. Paul's parents are taking down the wood fence in their yard, and they've given us the panels and posts. The panels are approximately 6' X 8'. I plan to use the first four panels as the walls in a three stall barn. The back of the barn will be hog panels and the front will open out onto three separate paddocks. I plan to put a pole frame around the fence panels to support the roof. This will give me winter housing for up to three flocks of goats (yearling does, breeding does plus buck, and any kids or goats that need special treatment). For the winter, I would stack straw bales against the wire end of the barn to make it three-sided instead of two.

There will be more wood panels coming, so I'll either add more stalls or come up with something else to use them for.


Gosh, it's easy to lose the habit of blogging (mostly) every day. I lost the use of my computer for one weekend a few weeks ago (dead power supply), and I haven't posted anything since.

I have a few things to write about, but I'll put them in different posts.