As winter schedule settles in at Damasa, I need reminding of all the steps I haven’t had to do for the last seven months. This morning when I went to feed hay to the cattle, I had a little surprise. from the other side of the hay pile I could see the cattle were closer than they should have been. On closer inspection I could see they had broke loose the wooden pallet I use to close off a corner of the gates. This allowed them to get direct access to the whole hay pile! Of coarse they couldn’t find their way back to the right side of the gate, lucky for me there was a walkout door I had locked I could open allowing them to run out. Thank goodness it only took a few nails and it was fixed. (note to self, check all gate soundness before adding cattle)
On a side note, we found a wayward chicken today. I guess when the coyote attached a few weeks ago, she escaped the carnage and had been hiding in the trees ever sense. Now she is safe back with her chicken sisters. (now to get those gals to start producing again)
The circle of life is playing out on the farm right now. Our 12 year old Border collie cross is coming to the end of her life. While on the farm pets like dogs and cats come and go faster then in an urban setting, so do last and become a close part of the family. Angel came to us right after my father died. In a way I felt a little of the movie “Fluke” may have happened, but never really thought my dad was inside Angel. Angel is special because she was here through the majority of my children’s growing up. David was 9, Marie 7, and Sam the animal lover was 4. Angel saw them ride their first bike, learn to mow lawn, drive a car, go on a date, and for two of them, see them graduate and leave the nest. She had a side kick Rascal most of those years, but she met an untimely death 18 months ago. Angel would guard the children as they played on the swing set, and happily greet us when we would come home. Never chewed up anything she wasn’t suppose to, and helped keep the farm clear of skunks and other varmints. She was a cat killer, until we brought Marshmallow home, and had to have a serious talk with her. Now she lets them curl around her nose as they walk by. The last three years she has spent the winters in the house with us because of a failed ACL surgery. She would come down to the first landing and sleep there like a lair of her own watching over us humans. Now she has some sickness that doesn’t allow her to keep down anything she eats. She is slowly starving to death, so Monday I will have to help end her struggle with a visit to the vet. Thank you old friend for all the love you have given our family. I’m glad you came to us……..
One week growth of barley grass
This summer the dry weather and heat caused the grass to stop growing around September 1. After 20 years of abundant rainfall, it was quite a switch to have the rain shut off in June this year. It’s going to make for a tight hay winter. Plenty of hay around, they just know what to charge for it, so I’m looking into a hydroponic fodder feed system. I’ll up date you on that when I get it install in about 2 weeks.
After 46 years of living on the same property, I have grown used to the changes in the seasons and what to expect. With that being said, I still see things that make me smile. While mowing areas of the back yard that grows tall before each mowing, (something I need to work on) I had a chance to watch my two young dogs “hunt” grasshoppers. They were finding great sport in following the mower, waiting for the larger hoppers to take off in flight. At that point they would run at full speed leaping into the air to catch their prey. While the success rate was not high, they were persistent and caught a satisfying amount. Upon a successful catch, each young dog would delight in chewing the crunchy snack. Why they crave this snack I don’t know, but there is a lot of things dogs eat that baffle me.
While checking the cattle today I brought my son David along. Last summer we worked together to get the beef project going along with the farmers market adventure. While checking the cattle and fences, he noticed some well shaped rocks he believes came from Native American camps around Grass Lake. He took pictures and plans on showing them to contacts at Yale. We have found several artifacts in the past, including a rock shaped to fit a hand for grinding last year. My grandfather Conrad Vaplon also found several arrowheads while tilling the soil. As for the cattle? They contently chewed their cud and drank some fresh water, then moved on to the next project of eating more salad bar. Ahhh the peacefulness of pasture production.