Moving…

 

On Sunday, it was time to move sheep to new pasture.  Their current pasture had been grazed down pretty well.

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When Mark had went to open up the gate to the new pasture he found this little guy…

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It appeared to have an injured wing and we didn’t want it to get crushed by the hooves of the sheep.  It was moved several feet away, to the adjoining pasture that didn’t have grazers in it.  The kids thought it was pretty cool!

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Let the moving commence, out of the old pasture, across the road…

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Through the gate and into the new pasture…

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Lots of tall, green grass here…

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Scattering a bit, in search of goodies!

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Happy Day!

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Harrowing away…

I am not sure who was happier to see the harrow going…my husband with a little tractor therapy…

Mark, working the pasture and moving the "solids" around.

or the chickens.  🙂

Chickens digging through...

Every time I looked up and seen my husband, he was grinning ear to ear.  Yup, good therapy.

Going round and round...

Everyone was happy and content.

Audna checking out what the chickens were up to.

With spring around the corner and the pasture coming back to life, it really needed the little piles of hay and dropping spread out.  The sheep are fairly good about getting the fertilizer spread out evenly but the llamas and horse have their own little areas that build up and eventually kill the grass.

Happy rooster...

Harrowing needs to be done fairly routinely here and after 5  months of freezing weather it really needed to be done this spring.

scratch...scratch...scratch

Happy harrowers. 🙂

A lovely end to the day.

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Homestead Barn Hop #53

Sainfoin…

What is it? Well according to the University of Wyoming

 

Sainfoin is an extremely palatable and nutritious forage crop. It is preferred over other forage species by cattle, sheep and deer. It matures faster than alfalfa providing early spring forage.
 

Onobrychis viciifolia Scop., is a member of the Fabaceae (Leguminosae) family. It is native to regions around the Mediterranean, Black and Caspian Seas and north into Russia. It has been cultivated in Europe for at least 450 years. Sainfoin was introduced from Turkey into the northern Great Plains of the U.S. in Montana and North Dakota in the 1960s. From these early introductions, varieties of sainfoin released by Montana State University included ‘Eski’ in 1964 and ‘Remont’ in 1971. .

Sainfoin is similar to alfalfa in feed value. Both can be cut and baled at 10% bloom. However, unlike alfalfa, sainfoin can be grazed as it does not cause bloat in ruminant animals. Sainfoin can be used for wildlife habitat restoration, for wildlife enhancement as a component with other forage species or as a legume component under the Conservation Reserve Program. Due to extreme palatability and limited acreage of sainfoin, deer fencing was required at several test sites in Wyoming and Montana in order to obtain seed and forage production data. Beekeepers indicate honey yields with sainfoin are much greater than from alfalfa.
 

 

Mark no-tilled in some sainfoin this spring into a portion of our pasture.  Not only do the sheep and bees love it but it is beautiful to look at too!  Here at the end of September it is still a dark green color while the rest of the pasture is pretty much dead.  I am sure if we had sheep in this pasture right now we would not be able to keep them out of it.

Bees in sainfoin.

More bees

Sainfoin Flower

Sainfoin Field

Goings on…

Another beauty...

Another beauty...

We have been having problems with a couple of sheep being renegades and crawling through the portable fence.  So this week Sawyer and I brought back all the sheep and sorted out all the trouble makers.  They then ended up staying in the main pasture for a couple of days due to being busy haying and then yesterday the kids and Iwere able to get them pushed back over to the portable fencing where there is more grass.  So last night Mark went over to check the voltage on the wires and to check on what it would take to put a perment fence in over there.  There is already a fence in place that looks pretty good, with the exception of the east side that is almost completly down but still has all the posts and most of the wire.  For the rest of the pasture it looks like we’ll just need to put in a couple of new post, insulators and one more round of wire to keep them in.  We then could do some rotational grazing, and then if someone popped through the temporary  fence we wouldn’t have to worry so much about them getting into the neighbors yards as all of them seem to respect the main fence (with 7000+ volts) running through it.  Mark also GPS’ed the garden and found out it was 4/10ths of an acre.

Icelandic ewes...

Icelandic ewes...

So last night I was able to ride the property lines with Mark as he checked on the fencing situation and GPS’ed the whole thing.  When we got back to the house the littlest boys where wanting a ride so off they went with Mark.  Zayne was too cute, his little eyes would get real big and he would smile and then wave.  When it was all done he got so mad to have to get off.  I’m not sure if that’s a good thing! (Him being so little and already thinking the 4-wheeler is so fun!)

Mark and the little boys...

Mark and the little boys...

Growing lambs…

This time of year we are busy moving sheep, trying to keep them on fresh pasture and trying to keep the grass growing.   Ewes are fattening back up after growing lambs.  Lambs are growing and developing and just changing.  I was busy taking a couple of pictures last night and this morning and decided to update the pictures of  the lambs…
Bandit is turning out to be such a nice ram with his wide horns, lovely fleece and great confirmation...

Bandit a horned spotted moorit ram Icelandic lamb...

Bandit is turning out to be such a nice ram with his wide horns, lovely fleece and great conformation.

Beautiful Bianca...

Beautiful Bianca...

Bianca is turning out simply beautiful in her chocolate moorit fleece…

Black Licorice is a black grey horned Icelandic ram lamb...

Black Licorice is a black grey horned Icelandic ram lamb...

Black Licorice is nearly the size of his mother and is growing so nicely, he is incredibly stout in build and has such thick wide horns.  His fleece is tremendously thick and very soft.

Briar is a black grey ewe lamb...

Briar is a black grey ewe lamb...

Briar looks somewhat like a clown with her little ruffle.

Beau is a moorit grey mouflon ram lamb...

Beau is a moorit grey mouflon ram lamb...

Beau is living up to his name of beautiful.  He has the prettiest fleece and has excellent confirmation.

Tori in with the animals...

Tori in with the animals...

Before we moved the sheep this last time Tori had to catch Butterscotch as the terrain is becoming a little more steep, maybe too steep for the calf.

The hillside...

The hillside...

Blink is a black spotted ram lamb...

Blink is a black spotted ram lamb...

I just love his black and white horns! 

Brindle is a spotted moorit grey ewe...

Brindle is a spotted moorit grey ewe...

I just love her color and her pattern, she is the only brown spotted ewe we ended up with this year.

Bistro is a black horned ram lamb with flashing...

Bistro is a black horned ram lamb with flashing...

Bistro was the one who had the three terrible abscesses in his cheek from the cheat grass.  Look at how well he has healed!

Bliss is a black grey ewe lamb...

Bliss is a black grey ewe lamb...

I was so excited when Bliss arrived, I had always wanted an Icelandic sheep that was grey and we ended up having two solid black grey ewe lambs this year!

Dugur busy watching the flock...

Dugur busy watching the flock...

I hope to take a few more pictures of the other lambs and update them too.

Relief…

Sunday evening while putting the sheep behind their netting for the night, the sky let loose causing Sawyer and I to  get drenched!  As I awoke through out the night I could still hear the pitter-patter on the roof and smiled to myself.  We have not had a lot of *hot* days during the past two months, just not not much in the form of precipitation.  Dry land hay is about burnt out for the year here  and we’re not even to July yet! 

In the morning everything was so green and beautiful!  We even had puddles in the driveway…

Puddles in the road...
Puddles in the road…
Some pictures from around the place…
Peony buds with rain droplets...

Peony buds with rain droplets...

~*~
Rain water collected in a cabbage leaf...

Rain water collected in a cabbage leaf...

Our high for Monday was 58 degrees.
Sinking in mud...

Sinking in mud...

I spent a good portion of the day weeding in the garden with a sweat shirt and stocking cap!
Our scarecrow dancing amongst the strawberries...

Our scarecrow dancing amongst the strawberries...

~*~
Nearly 7/10ths!

Nearly 7/10ths!

This will definitely help to rejuvenate our pasture.

 

Sticks and Stones and didn’t break his bones…

but trying to catch a lamb tore the ACL in his shoulder.  :0(  Saturday morning the sheep were needing to be  moved across the road to their new pasture.  After Mark and Sawyer had the paddock all set up they started to move sheep.  The move involved going through the main gate into the pasture and into the driveway where they can mow down the ditches.  The gate was removed but the sheep remembered that that area was hot, so they were a little reluctant to move through it.  Eventually though all the sheep found their way to greener pasture with the exception for Esja and her new lamb.  Everytime they were even close to the gate she would veer off and run away.  So in the process of pushing them toward the gate, the lamb ran into a corner and Mark decided to try and catch the little lass with the thought that if he had the lamb, mom would follow.  So he ran…and reached…and the little lamb was in his hand but catching speed so he dove for her and piled up on his shoulder.  All he could do was hold his shoulder and I see he was in a lot of pain.  All his little helpers came running up all wide eyed asking if he was ok.  Being the tough daddy that he is he rubbed it off, smiled and said yep!  A few minutes later he was on the 4-wheeler turned a corner and we all watched his ride go forward while he fell to the ground.  He didn’t have any strength in his arm and wasn’t able to stay aboard when he took the corner. 

The sheep all moved...

The sheep all moved...

One of Mark’s previous students was getting married that night and Mark did not want to miss it despite being in a lot of pain.  He didn’t want to go to the emergency room and be told nothing was wrong and miss the ceremony.  The wedding was so very beautiful and the rain even held off despite the dark clouds that loomed all day.  The bride and groom held a sand ceremony, where three viles of sand where mixed into one.  One represented by the bride, the groom and God.  When they were mixed together the pastor told us that this is the way God sees our marriage,  it would be impossible to sort out those individual pieces of sand and now the three were now joined together forever.  It was very sweet.

We only stayed at the wedding for just a little while and eventually headed up to the emergency room.  He ended up having some x-rays done that determined there were no broken bones and that he had torn his ACL.  He was sent home with some pain meds and a sling and has to make an appointment with the orthopedic doctor this week to see what the extent of the damage is.

Mark lying low...

Mark lying low...

  He spent most of Father’s being pretty still and that about drove him crazy.  Mark is not one for sitting around when there is alot to do…he tried to go out and weed some strawberries and soon found out he couldn’t do much of that without his shoulder hurting.  We did have a nice day though, we had Mark’s dad and brother over for lunch and my brother with his boys and my folks came over for supper after my dad was off of work.

Showing my dad his bees...

Showing my dad his bees...

The kids were too cute pampering and wating on their dad, so even though Mark didn’t get his strawberries weeded he did get some much needed rest.

The crew pampered their dad all day...

The crew pampered their dad all day...

Winter Wheat…

Last fall Mark no-tilled in a grazing variety of winter wheat to see how the sheep would do on it.  It has been growing like crazy this Spring and we turned the sheep out on part of the seeding earlier,  just to see how well it would regrow…

Winter Wheat growing back in...

Winter Wheat growing back in...

And right now it looks beautiful!  The rest of the wheat is just starting to head out…

Winter Wheat heading out...

Winter Wheat heading out...

So we decided to turn the sheep out on it a couple of days ago…

Icelandic Sheep on winter wheat...

Icelandic Sheep on winter wheat...

~*~

Dugur wading through...

Dugur wading through...

~*~

Maddie hanging out...

Maddie hanging out...

~*~

Icelandic Lamb eating his way through...

Icelandic Lamb eating her way through...

~*~

Bruno he's turning out to be so handsome...

Bruno turning out to be so handsome...

~*~

lil Briar enjoying being out with the rest of the flock...
Lil Briar enjoying being out with the rest of the flock…

~*~

Butterscotch is convinced she is a lamb!

Butterscotch is convinced she is a lamb!

~*~
Eating down a patch of Shepherd's Purse...
Eating down a patch of Shepherd’s Purse…

~*~

A Brown Headed Cowbird hitching a ride on Auðráð...

A Brown Headed Cowbird hitching a ride on Auðráð...

Just this past week I have noticed that we have had some Brown Headed Cowbirds around.  They are a terrible bird, according to Audubon
The Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater)is North America’s most notorious brood parasite. Instead of building their own nests, incubating their own eggs and raising their own nestlings, Brown-headed Cowbirds have a different breeding strategy. Cowbird females use other bird species as hosts — laying their eggs in the nests of other bird species and relying on these hosts to incubate and raise their chicks. Scientists have now recorded that Brown-headed Cowbirds have parasitized over 220 host species, ranging from the Black-capped Vireo and Wood Thrush to the Blue-winged Teal and Red-headed Woodpecker. While not all hosts make good foster parents — a number of species reject cowbird eggs — cowbird chicks have been successfully reared by over 150 host species, with songbirds comprising the majority of hosts.
The boys are not allowed to try out their BB Guns on birds, but we may have to make an ammendment to the rules for this parasite.
Bianca munching on tender new regrowth...

Bianca munching on tender new regrowth...

~*~
Grizel chowin down...

Grizel chowin' down...

~*~
Badger eatin' away...

Badger eatin' away...

I think it was unanimous that sheep are enjoying the winter wheat, this weekend we will take them off  and see what type of regrowth we can get from it again.  Hopefully we get more moisture as it has been really dry the last two months and our pastures are already starting to stress. Yesterday we did recieved 1/10 inch of rain, not much but every little bit helps.  We have some cooler weather lately but not much in the amount of precip, the clouds just sort of tease us and dance on over.   Hopefully we’ll get some more…
Storm clouds passing over...

Storm clouds passing over...

Grazing Right Along…

Where the line was drawn...

Where the line was drawn...

 

We intensively graze our pastures.  Using electronetting, we make a small paddock and turn the sheep loose for a couple of days and then move them onto the next patch of grass.  We have found that just letting them loose on the entire pasture, they are a lot more picky about what they eat and overgraze in certain areas while hardly touching others.  Using this method they still pick and choose, eating the best stuff first but in the end it looks like a lawn mower has sculpted the area leaving it neatly trimmed.  The above photo was taken in their most recent grazing area. We turned them loose in half of the winter wheat pasture that was looking a bit weedy, we are a bit curious to see how well this area will come back  and what it will look like in comparison with the rest of the wheat this fall.  Also turning them out in the weedier half of the pasture helped to mow back those plants before they set seed and spread.  While we would like to say we have perfect pastures we will openly admit it something that is always in the works around here and being constantly re-evaluated and the dynamics are always changing based on a number of things.  Right now we  are battling Wormwood, Knapweed and some Downy Brome or commonly known as Cheatgrass (which is a bad word around here!) and are trying different control measures on them.  The sheep seem to love eating the Knapweed and will eat the Wormwood when young and will eat the Cheatgrass, which before it set seed is great but once it set seed is not so good…

Last night while moving the sheep onto their next rotation I was taking pictures of lambs and noticed something wrong with this guy…

What's wrong with this guy?

What's wrong with this guy?

 

My initial thought was that something must have chewed on his face.  When  we finally caught him,(darn things are sooo fast!)  he looked pretty gross… (Don’t look if easily bothered by ickiness!)

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