Typically, by now the hot summer days would be baking the ground and causing lots of dust on every road and trail. We were fortunate to get our hay crop in when we did because the last two weeks has had many muggy days with light rain showers or thunderheads looming. We are still lower than average for the total amount of rainfall for the year so this dampness a welcomed opportunity for the newly planted seedlings, and for the fields.
It is a different story for those who have not yet been able to get their harvests completed. In the valley, the grass seed farmers have had their fields swathed (cut down) during this stretch where the crop is supposed to be drying, but the ongoing moist days are keeping the ground beneath the wind-rows damp and threatening to rot the crop before the drying can occur. The farmers are starting to doubt their ability to get the crops harvested.
Our far field that was the first one cut for hay, has greened up considerably with the moisture so we moved the main herd back over there to eat the new grass rather than letting it go to the resident elk herds.
There is enough new growth out in the field and around the brush at the tree line to keep the main herd busy for a week to ten days. These are valuable days that we will not have to feed the limited supply of the harvest from the barn, and easing the worries about the harvest being enough to supply the cows through the winter months.
Now the the hay equipment is put away for the season and the small tractor has been freed up for other duties, the rotary mower has been put replaced on the back end of the tractor.
The mower will be used in the smaller pastures and around the hayfields that have gone mostly to dog fennel, dandelions, Canadian thistles, bull thistles and other assorted weeds. Mowing these smaller fields will eliminate the overgrowth of the unwanted plants and allow for grass to again take over if we get a little moisture before the weeds rebound.
This task will be one of those, when-I-get-around-to-it kind of jobs and will be done in small time increments around more important things.
We have been worried about our dry spring weather. We could see the stress on the new seedlings in the forest, the dusty lane around the fields that would normally be swamp messes this time of year, and in the growing hay fields. The grass didn’t look as green as it should and had practically stopped growing. We had concerns that we would have to start mowing a month early to keep from losing the nutrients as the grass dries out. Continue reading
The hay fields that were harvested and turned into pastures finally have a tinge of green.
Since the harvest, the hot and dry summer scorched the grass, it was brittle and brown with little nutrients.
Over the last week we have had a few showers and nearly an inch of rain. That was enough to start the grass growing again. It is a welcome sight to see a touch of green return to the pastures.
PS There is nothing wrong with the calf in the photo. It looks like he is leaning into gale-force wind but he had just stood up from a rest and needed to do a little stretching before walking across the field to join the rest of the herd.
With a week of temperatures above freezing the grass in the swamp started growing.
The bulls in the bull pen had been nibbling around the edges until today when one bull decided it was time to brave the sucking mud and fill up on the delicious, tender greens in the gooiest part of the swale .
Stepping into the swamp muck, the bull was nearly eye level with his meal, and he spent over an hour gobbling every spear he could. The other bulls followed his lead and before long the swamp was full of bull.
This winter has trifled with my organizational skills. Actually, A LOT of things trifle with my organizational skills, but for today, this winter is on my list.
This post was supposed to start by saying that the last of the snow has finally melted from the gigantic piles that were formed where the massive amounts slid off the metal roofs (?? would that be rooves?) of the barns. See what I mean? This winter is even unsettling for my words.
Anyway, back to may rant…
At daybreak, a new skiff of snow greeted the animals in the bull pen, with the chance of 2-4 more inches during the day. It was barely 24 hours since we had finally melted the last of the snow here at the river level of the farm. I was reluctant to climb the hill to check out if we still have snow at the top of the ridge, but I would have assumed that it would of either been gone or close to it by now.
It will be detrimental to move the main herd of cows to the far pasture today as planned since they cannot graze when the snow covers the grass. The move will have to wait at least a day or two.
That old adage seems to ring true this spring. Our far field that is across the river twice from the house (meandering river) has been growing quickly now that the weather has warmed. We want to move the cows over to that far field so they can eat the grass down and keep it at a manageable level, but with all the rain we had since December, the river is too high for the new calves to cross.
The elk have decided that since we are not going to be pasturing that field, have moved in with a vengeance. The herd has grown since last year, there are about 40 elk that happily graze the grass that we want our cows to have.
Early mornings, when I head over to start the chores, I can see the elk over there right above the backs of our herd.
Mike has taken to going up the county road in the evenings to get to the field where he can run off what he calls ‘the filthy elk,’ but don’t seem too offended and return within a day or two.
Now that the weather has finally turned and the drying out has begun, the river will drop enough for the calves to cross with their mothers. Now I have to make sure that the fences the elk have flattened are fixed before moving the herd before moving them to the greener pasture.