“A day in the country is worth a month in town”Christina Rossetti

Friday, August 12, 2011

Wrap Up To July

July was a busy time and although I took photos and videos, I didn't always stop to post them. Partly because of our travel, and partly because of the heat, the goats got moved a bit more quickly than usual. They seemed to browse through the fields much faster, and I'm not sure if the lack of moisture in the grasses, weeds and brambles made them less filling, or we are into a new season of grasses and plants that they don't favor as much.
There is a lot of high growth, but as they pick through what they like first, much gets trampled and wasted.
Not to suggest the goats are not eating well. Hardly! At the end of July, the goats got moved to the far end of the paddocks from the barn, and we mowed down the stubble in the closest fields for a clean start, and to try and shorten the life span of any parasites. Without moisture, the parasite has a difficult time surviving.

However, other creatures survived the goats and us. Or should I say we survived them. Twice this summer I have mowed the paddocks after the goats were rotated out, and come to a spot where it appeared the goats did not enjoy the growth. Although I have a good sized tractor, the mower is a basic underbelly mower, and can only cut so high and so thick before it chokes.

The first time this happened, I started to push into the tall weeds and grasses before I checked my sanity and backed away. I looked at where I had mowed and thought at first I saw a carcass. Then I thought newspaper? Then I though BEES! RUN!
In my haste at backing up, I almost took out some of the high tensile fence. When in forward, I went as fast as I could, waving my arms at my approaching husband. He was hospitalized eight years ago after hitting a ground yellow-jacket nest, so we've got a history here.
The above paper wasp nest is on a post along the fence where the goats just left. I was suspicious this time and rightfully so. This is a busy nest.
I now approach the fields with much more caution as I work. One never knows where these nests will show up.
Another blurry photo of these beautiful pheasants that have thrived on the farm and are now escorting their young down the paths and through the paddocks. We hear them much more than see them, because the males are constantly "crowing".
My latest theory is that they follow the goats, especially in the mornings, because they like what they find in the droppings. A coexistence I favor. They too are helping reduce the parasite life cycle.
The heat has been tough on everyone, and the water troughs and buckets have been well used. The cats have had the toughest time coping outdoors, but Mia was doing her best this day.

We started this month with Julia working on her 4-H project. Her workbook is finished and checked off, and she is ready to go to the fair in two weeks. A bit more training of the does, and its Westmoreland Fair time. Ariel and Adeline, above, along with Ali and Abi, have been spending time in their own stall at night. This is in preparation for the "cold turkey" weaning that will happen to the two that will be at the fair, and also because we are coming into breeding season. We need to give the nannies a break, and time to fatten up and get ready to kid again.

And we came to the end of an era on July 30th. After many good miles, we had to trade in the old Explorer because it would not pass state inspection, and they were not sure how much it was going to take to fix it.

With rebates, the timing was right to trade in my dear friend and get the Escape. Its a bit better on fuel and could meet my basic needs. The key requirement I had was that it could hold the large dog crate - for the goats.

1 comment:

Lois Evensen said...

So much has been happening. We have had an Explorer, Escape (daughter has it now) and now have an Edge. We were happy with each of them. They go and go and go.

The goats are darling - love the wagging tails in the video. We have a neighbor who hasn't mowed for quite some time. Every time we drive by I say, "They need some goats."

Wonderful post. Thanks for the update. :)