I wrote a while ago about the paddock paradise or track I set up this year to encourage exercise and limit weight gain and I have been quite pleased with it this summer. Tessa was already quite a chub when I set it up and I have to say, that has not changed, she is still dangerously 'chubby'. However, it hasn't gotten worse either and the donkey's weight is acceptable. Using a grazing muzzle on Tessa proved problematic, the biggest problem being a certain little brown donkey we all know and love.
I am going to continue to use the track system and I have a few ideas for improvements and elaborations for next year. I would like to fence in and include a bit of my woods, I know the donkeys would really love that and it would be good for them. I only own a couple of acres that are wooded, but even that would be fun for them. The browse they choose when we are out walking is quite fascinating. They love to eat rotted logs, moss, lichen and beech leaves, all of which are very high in mineral content and roughage that they would never get eating grass. Fencing the woods is the only way I can give them access to such delightfully delicious donkey delectables.
I have to do some creative fencing to pull it off though and, more importantly, have to make sure there is no more rotted barbed wire lurking about. Very early Spring, before the vegetation sprouts up, is really the only time for that job so it is going to have to wait till next year.
The other thing I like about the track setup is that the rest of the fields are improving with no grazing stress. I think mowing them and NOT grazing them for a couple of years is the only hope I have of getting rid of some of the really nasty invasive weeds. They have been thriving because the horses eat the grass and leave the weeds (thank God). This is the first year I have ever seen as much grass as weeds and i am hoping that the grass will choke out the weeds if I can make life good for it and bad for evil, toxic weeds.
I had really wanted to do a couple of more building projects this year, but it looks like they are going to have to wait a bit longer. I had hoped to finally get the stairs built off my back deck, but barring a miracle, I don't see it happening. I had also hoped to get some of the finish work done on the interior of the house, but that hasn't happened either. I just can't seem to summon the motivation for it and the longer I put it off, the bigger the job seems to get. If I would just start the darned job, I know I would be half way done.
To my Sanborn friends, in case you were wondering...No, I still don't have a bathroom door:)
My garden was a near epic failure this year. To be fair to myself, I decided early this Spring that I wasn't going to even bother this year. I was so exhausted after dealing with Ramsey's convalescence over the winter, that I didn't have the energy to even think about the garden much. Mostly, I was glad I didn't bother because nearly everything around here failed this year anyway because of the excess rain.
I did break down and put some tomato, cucumber and pepper seedlings in the ground and planted two of my beds with potatoes. The bleeping deer ate the seedlings in the first week and I didn't get a single thing off any of the plants. The potatoes did sort of OK, I harvested 30-40 pounds. The yeild was low, but the potatoes are nice. Next year, I really want to work on a container garden up on my deck, where the varmints can't reach.
I am having trouble with my new-in-2008-very-expensive Woodstock soapstone stove, which is my only source of heat. It is a catalytic stove and the internal works are a mess. I have new parts for it and have the whole thing torn apart, but the job is not going well because none of the parts fit. If you happen to pass through upstate NY and hear loud, vehement swearing and banging, just turn your head and keep driving. You really don't want to know any more.