Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Q @ A

There have been some questions from different folks recently that I haven't had time to answer.  I always read and appreciate everyone's comments, but my computer time has been really limited lately.  I know the blog has suffered for it and I'm sorry.  There is no one specific reason for it, but 2014 has been a rough year.  There is a lot going on on many levels that I can't really blog about and there's this jinx that has been following me around.  Maybe it's because I had the rediculous temerity to actually write down a list of goals for the year.

Please dear Universe, I take it back!  I rescind all thoughts of plans or goals and bow to your whims.  I will try to never again to be so foolish.

Anyways, all attempts at breaking the jinx aside, I thought I'd try to answer some of your recent questions.....

Terri wanted to know where the path in the pasture led to and why Tessa would opt to leave it.  All hooved animals that I know of make paths like this in their familiar territories.  I think it is so that they always know where safe footing is even if they can't see it.  Their hooves leave scent trails behind them  as well so even if completely blinded they know where they can put their feet.  As for where it goes....I am using a track system to limit the amount of pasture my fatties have access to while maximizing exercise.  The track goes around the perimeter of the field and the path follows that track.   I guess it works, although Tessa and Emma are still far, FAR too heavy.  As to why Tessa left the path, that's easy: she had to pee:). She always goes off into the tall grass for that.  Actually, they all do.  They don't like getting splashed.  Who does?

Mary Ann wanted to know who owns all the turkeys, sheep, pigs, etc that I post sometimes.  They are all over at Farm Buddy's place, Natural Borders Farm.  She and I have been friends and worked on farming stuff together for nearly twenty years.  FB owns a small farm where she raises grass fed beef, lamb, pork and poultry.  The whole farm is centered around the concepts of raising happy healthy animals as naturally and humanely as possible along with sustainability, land conservation and diversity.  The animals live like kings, FB lives like a slave to them.  The farm produces extremely high quality, humanely raised meats and very little income.  The plight of small farms these days.   I keep trying to get FB to write some blog posts, but she keeps balking.  Maybe if you all nag her....

The farm is where we make hay and Val was interested in that.  We generally make first, second and third cutting, but it varies in how we do that.  This year, the first cutting on the main hay field was all made into balage which will feed the cattle.  We contract with a local dairy farm for that, which is expensive but ensures that the animals get the highest possible nutrition despite impossible weather conditions.  The second cutting was already made, (as small square bales) but with very poor yields.  The third cutting is yet to happen.  Last year, it was made into balage and fed to the sheep who do extremely well on it.

The hay we made last weekend is on a separate field that is enrolled in a wildlife conservation project for ground nesting birds so we never mow the hay there until after July 4th.  The birds are done nesting by then and have moved out.  Some of this hay goes to feed my crew, anything left is used on the farm.  Unfortunatly, there is not a lot left this year.  Hopefully, there will be enough.  As for how much I use....I am still struggling with that.  I am hoping that this hay, cut very late, will be low enough in calories that I can feed it free choice out of small mesh hay nets.  It looks awfully green and fine and yummy for that though so I am not sure.  I am having it tested and will know more in a week or two.  The bales weigh about 25 pounds each and I am figuring a bale a day.  We'll see, they all need to lose weight.  

Did I miss anything?  I really do appreciate hearing from all of you.  If anyone else has any questions or something you'd like to hear more about, let me know and I'll try.  It might take me a while, but I'll try.


  1. Thanks for filling in all the background details. You live a tough, stressful, but interesting life. Tessa, Emma and Ramsey are the beneficiaries.

  2. I love the idea of the wildlife conservation use of hayfields. How does one enroll in that? I would happily turn my front 2 acres into such a field. I'd love to save the ground birds and piss off my neighbor by not mowing until July -- all in one fell swoop! Oh, hanging head now....I'm bad. ;)

  3. Tel FB that I would dearly love to have access to meat like that! Maybe one day Oz will come out of the dark ages. :P

  4. Loved that you answered some of the questions in a blog post plust that made me to look at the posts that generated the questions! As always enjoy the tales and the photos!

  5. You answered my question. We purchase from two different sources and have gotten good hay for the past 10 yrs.
    That said, you asked me about cameras.
    I know that I've taken award winning photos with my pink ugly old plastic camera and would rather stick to a good point and shoot to carry on walks and rides.
    I am a Nikon user and have invested in prime lenses for a lot of my work.
    But for every day, out come the cheaper models that you can pick up from any store. I normally wear cargo pants and carry one in the side pocket.
    Hope that helps.