RicelandMeadows


Plotting for Deer

deerplot

August 29, 2016

This little field was an old part of our pasture. When I put up the new fence, I straightened it out. This little place got abandoned. I keep mowing it. I tried a couple of years ago to plant trees here, but the weeds choked them out. We will probably do that again, but for now, we have created a plot for the wild deer.

We worked up the sod and planted oats, turnips, radish and a medley of grasses and forage. My sheep would go nuts for this soon to be lush autumn and winter grazing. We hope the deer like it. I just want to keep them coming to our farm. We harvest a deer or two each year, so it seems only right to offer them a little food.

They do get into my hay fields and eat clover. They munch my corn and other crops too. This plot however is all theirs. It is in the back, next to the woods. There are trees growing on three sides. A stream is just a few hundred feet away and places to hide and sleep abound.

My son was pretty pleased with our efforts today. My grandson was thrilled that we planted food for the deer. He had a great time catching grasshoppers, crickets and even a frog while we worked and planted. My granddaughter made me mud pies and helped her brother in the big grasshopper hunt. It was a good day for us all….I think more than just a few seeds were planted today…I believe a memory was planted too.



A Walk in the Park
October 14, 2015, 9:05 am
Filed under: October 2015 | Tags: , , , , , , ,
Hens enjoying  their new park

Hens enjoying their new park

October 14, 2015

Recently, we built a new enclosure for our laying hens. These pens are often called chicken parks. I want my hens to have outside room to roam but I want to keep them safe as well. This park is a perfect fit for both me and the hens. They will keep the grass and tall weeds in check around their chicken house and the back side of the wash house as well. Now, they just need to lay a couple hundred dozen eggs to pay for it 😮

Yesterday, I was closing gates and moving cattle. The goal is to put the sheep in the sugarhouse paddock again. The grass in that place is deep, green and lush. The lambs will fatten well on it. The mothers will put on a little extra weight just in time for breeding season. I think the grass is rich enough to “flush” the ewes. Flushing them refers to tricking them to think there is an abundance of feed so they will release more ovaries. They have the confidence that there will be plenty of feed to raise their new babies.

Some guys say that flushing ewes is an old wives tale. I know in nature, if deer have plenty to eat in the fall, the does have more twins in the coming spring. I also believe that flushing has worked for me the past fifteen years, so I am not going to quit doing what works. It’s not like I only wear a favorite jacket or socks during breeding season as my ewes head to the playoffs! This is about balanced nutrition. The ewes have access to all they want to eat and drink, along with minerals free choice. This is good husbandry. It’s the way I do business anyway. I think all those sets of twins next spring is the ewe’s way of saying, “Thank you!”.

As I was closing gates and moving the stock, I realized yet again just how much beauty was surrounding me. The leaves continue to get more colorful each day. The growing speltz are a bright green and the grass looks like a green carpet that stretches “wall-to-wall”, from fence row to woodline. In fact, it’s just like a walk in the park!

The sugarhouse nestled in her little valley

The sugarhouse nestled in her little valley



Snuggle Time!
February 9, 2015, 11:23 pm
Filed under: February 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
The babies get ready for bed

The babies get ready for bed

February 9, 2011

After a very nice weekend, the temperature has plummeted again. We saw 40 Saturday and again on Sunday. It felt very warm. The snow in the fields got settled some, but it is still plenty deep. The driveway is frozen and all of us are ready to snuggle up once again.

I guess this is the week for that stuff. I’m thinking that is why St Valentine has his day in February. Snuggling up in August is fine, but snuggling now is wonderful! I will say the animals even seem to like it. Sure, part of it is necessary, but they play and frolic, then settle down and even cover up with the bedding.

I am not going to fight Mother Nature. She has it all worked out. The weather breaks enough to allow the wildlife to get food and water. Some of the wildlife know where to go no matter what the weather does. My buddy in Pennsylvania went to pick a remote five acre field of ear corn. When he got there, the corn was gone. The stalks were all there, but the ears had been eaten by the deer.

As we talked about the wildlife on his mountain farm, he also told me how the bears paw open his plastic wrapped bales of silage. They ruin a few every year he told me. Man, to think about a bear ripping open a big round bale, then rolling it halfway down a hill, makes me shake my head….and glad to live on the flat land.

We try to live in harmony with nature. I am an environmental steward. I manage my woodlot in ways that enhance wildlife habitat. We farm this farm in ways that keep water quality protected. I look out for my animals and the ones who call our farm their home. So, for tonight, we will snuggle up, make plans and stay warm!