Monday, October 6, 2008

The end of the grass

We started our final rotation on the lower pasture today. The grass is only 4 to 6 inches in most places. That means we will have a 20 day rotation rather than a 35 day rotation. We will still have a few places around the farm where we can graze, but probably not more than a weeks worth. I'm negotiating with a neighbor for grazing privileges on some of her property. It's pretty wooded and over grown, so I don't know how much time that will give me if she agrees. All in all it looks like we will be feeding hay about a month earlier this winter than we did last winter. Irrigation might have helped a bit, or getting rid of some of our stock, but we weren't set up for the first and couldn't bring ourselves to do the latter. That is one of the differences between a micro-farm with a few animals and a larger farm with larger herds. On the micro-farm you know each of your animals, have named them, and are emotionally bonded with them. It is hard to get rid of them for economic reasons, even though that is what would make the best sense. On a big farm, they are just one of the herd, a number, and you can cut and cull where and when needed without feeling a great emotional loss. We'll get through this, but if I was being true to my philosophy, I would have cut my herd by half rather than importing feed. It may come to that, but we will try one more year to get things in shape here.

Wellington's catching up with the 'big boys'
Happy Goats
Wellington and May

I don't expect we will have significantly more grass growth this year. We had our first frost yesterday, and things aren't really warming up all that much. That usually slows things down a lot.

On the home front, we had to start the wood stove yesterday. It was just too cold in the house. Even after the sun came out it didn't warm up. M has offered us some of the trees on her property that were blown down by the last storm. Putting a bit of extra wood by is probably a good idea.

The Mouse Wars continue at a low level. This morning I sat down at the computer to check my email. I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye, turned to look and there was a mouse sniffing my foot. There was a time when my reaction time was fast enough that I could have squished him with my shoe, but not today. So, I'm living with a trap under the desk. Makes you careful where you put you feet.


Heather said...

Gosh, I would get an F- in culling; I feel your dilemma just via our small flock of chickens.

Hey, on the mouse issue: I had very good luck with this small device that you plug into an outlet; it emits a very high pitched noise that supposedly drives rodents nuts. It was part of a larger assault (traps, etc.), but the tide really seemed to turn when we added that. They are pretty cheap and don't cost much to run. Good luck with those mice!

Kate The Great said...

Your animals are so cute... I hope they have a good winter... I can't believe you started your fire already... although it has been quite chilly in the am!

Alan said...


It does seem that we are consistently 10 deg colder than Columbus. Wish we weren't.


I don't have a problem culling chickens, but the rest of the gang is another story. On the mouse thing, what would it do to the dogs, cats, and hamsters who share our space? If it doesn't bother them it sounds like a great option.

Heather said...

Hmm, good question; I'd ask about it at the hardware store and read the package, I'm sure this is a frequent question. We had a cat at the time and I don't recall him suddenly vanishing or acting demented (any more than usual...). Hamsters might be a different issue though...

inadvertentfarmer said...

LOL...I'm pretty brave but not so much with mice. Their quick movements and their twitchy little noses and beedy little eyes are just too much for me. Think I would move out of the office till the little varmit was caught.

I'm with you downsizing herds. I have a hard time thinning carrots seedlings let alone trying to choose which animals to get rid of...ok I have been tempted to downsize one very large obnoxious animal but the rest, no way! Kim

nancybond said...

The calves are so sweet. :) Your wood fire sounds warm and cozy. Good luck with both the grass situation AND the mousies!

themanicgardener said...

Sounds like some hard times. Hope you've got tabs on vast quantities of cheap but good hay!

I love Heather's mouse idea. What is it, though, with these cats that think they'r too good to catch mice? I've got two such worthless beasts.

queenbeehoney said...

My Brother Mike once lived in a house where mouse wars raged. He invested what was for him a small fortune in live traps, only to have his mice regularly drown themselves in various pans of sink water, garden water, houseplant watering water and the occasional bathtub water. He and his wife finally decided that the mice were committing hari kari for some unknown reason perhaps relating to guilt over chewing things they shouldn't have.


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