Farming, even on a small scale, is always such an endless mix of life and death. Chaos and order. A farm is perpetually striving for balance, but balance is never more than a fleeting moment.
After moving the chicken coop away from the stone wall and up close to the barn, I added 2 strands of electric fence. I know there are other security measures I should be taking, but this is the best I can do for the moment.
So far, no more casualties - except for the flowers that the chickens have killed.
This is the third(?) year that I have been leaving the main portion of my pastures un-mowed until the end of July. I do this so that there will be grass stockpiled for winter grazing. I also wait to mow till late July so that the grassland can double as a sanctuary for ground-nesting birds. After spending the past 7 years rehabilitating these fields and the last three years managing them for winter grazing and wildlife, I have seen a huge increase in the bird populations this year.
The first year I was here, I saw very few birds. This year, there are several dozen tree swallows, a growing population of barn swallows, blackbirds, bobolinks, a bunch of things I can't identify and even a pair of bluebirds.
Earlier, I was standing, drinking my morning tea and watching all the swallows swoop and dive over the fields. I love watching swallows. Then, the caffeine finally caught up with my foggy brain and I realized that the swallows were so beautifully and gracefully swooping and diving directly over my new beehives.
Hopefully, those queens are laying a lot of eggs and the hives can find their moment of balance before the birds eat them all.
Every day, Connor swims in the pond and every day, I look for the fish I set loose. So far, I have seen no sign. Today, of course, I forgot to look for the fish. It was as Connor's stick was just about to fly from my fingers that I looked up and saw all six carp having a meeting in the center of the pond. The stick landed right in the middle of them and the Border Collie was not far behind. In the brief look I got of them, they seemed to be doing well. I think they may even have grown.
Still no sign of the catfish, but I'm not sure that is a bad thing. they should be hanging out on the bottom of the pond, doing their thing. I think i would only see them if there is something wrong.
The equines are all doing well, although both Emma and Tessa have gained an alarming amount of weight. They did very well over the winter, everyone even lost a few pounds and they all looked good this Spring. I wanted to maintain that so I actually gave them less access to grass than I have in previous years and took them off the main pasture a month earlier. However, the grass came in super strong this year and, before I knew it, the pounds were adding up even on their limited access. Everyone is on a strict diet now and for the foreseeable future.
I was lucky to get really low sugar hay last year, which is what helped with the weight lose, but I think the low sugar was because of the freakish amount of rain we had. This year, we have had a freakish amount of sun and I am very worried about the sugar content of the feed this year. It is especially worrisome because I can no longer feed straw for reasons I will get to in a minute. I am trying to figure out how to lower the calories and still keep the herd happy. It is a struggle.
Ramsey will be turning 4 in a few days, which is amazing. He sure has come a long way. His bad foot is doing well. It has its issues, as it always will, but Ramsey is growing into a very solid, strong donkey. He is almost an adult.
Hard to believe isn't it?
To be continued.....