RicelandMeadows


Safe and Secure
May 31, 2017, 10:23 pm
Filed under: May 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , ,

gateclose

May 31, 2017

My almost three year old grandson is a stickler for keeping the gates closed. He knows which gates are normally open, as well as, the ones that are usually closed. He does not like to see one that is usually closed, in the open position. It’s okay if we are moving livestock, but a random open gate really bothers this young man.

I guess that I am where my grandson gets his ideas from. I close gates behind me. I insist that others do too. If you go through a gate and it is closed, then the expectation is that you close and latch it behind you. We live on a busy road. There is not a time when livestock are welcomed there. I also don’t like them stomping holes in the lawn or other mischief.

Our oil well tender man is also very careful with our gates. I am grateful to him as well. I guess much of our farm life revolves around opening and closing gates. I have many because we move livestock often, from pasture to pasture. I need things to be easy, especially with my advancing age! Our cattle and even the sow herd knows where to go, all because of our gates. They make life easy and keep all of us safe and secure.

My little next door farmer keeps a watchful eye for open gates and anything amiss. I too am wary of strange things or stuff out of place. I notice things that are different and have done so from an early age. I see part of myself in this little guy…that knowledge also makes me feel safe and secure.



Shady Summer Pasture

woodedpasture

August 15, 2016

This patch of woodlands was recommended by the state forester to become a pasture. There were not too many trees worth saving according to him. I bought a herd of goats several years ago and let them eat whatever they wanted. I mowed what I could after the goats had moved on. I cut down and am cutting down, cull trees while cleaning up what falls down every year.

This hamlet has become a great pasture for sultry summer days. I feed hay to the cows here to provide feed in addition to whatever the cows graze. I graze it very short so that my clean up efforts are made easier. Soon I will hand seed grasses into the bare spots. As I remove trees the filtered sunlight encourages the grass to grow. What was once a brushy, thorny, overgrown patch, with a few trees growing among the multi-flora rose, has become a productive paddock on my farm.

I am going to remove all the trees with multi-trunks, leaving the best and straightest to grow. I continue to clean up the dead, wind blown, fallen trees and branches. Trust me I have made great progress, but plenty of work awaits. I work here in the fall. The weather is good for hard work. I also like to take trees down after the leaves have fallen. It makes the brush easier to handle.

In following my “Woodland Management Plan”, this area will become a pasture. In following my own desire, the pasture will be wooded, providing shade and comfort during the dog days of summer. I do get a fair amount of grazing days here as I rotate the animals through this field. I also graze the sow herd here to clean up the fallen Hickory nuts and wild apples. It has been a great little field and it is just starting to reach its full potential.



How Now Brown Sow?
November 5, 2015, 8:12 pm
Filed under: November 2015 | Tags: , , ,
The girls enjoying supper

The girls enjoying supper

November 5, 2015

Tonight, I moved the sows from their summer pasture to a small wooded hamlet. This small forested area is of about three and a half acres. There are hickory nuts and wild apples littering the ground in this place. My foraging mothers will have a great time searching for and eating those treats. The pasture in the photo will become home to a group of young cattle, heifers and steers. There are a couple of weeks of grazing here in this paddock for those youngsters.

As we race for winter, I am glad to still have grass available to my cattle herd. The main herd of cows are grazing a lush piece of red clover, a few cowpeas and some oats. They leak a little when they cough, but they keep right on eating and smiling 😮 Our bull will go in with the mommas tomorrow. It is a little unconventional to breed at this time of year, but so far it is working well for us. We are mostly just growing our own beef anyway…and for a few customers. So autumn and winter calves work ok for us.

Our sows will get to spend the nice winter days out in the wooded pasture. I will build them a hay fort out of big round bales to hunker down in on nasty days. Mostly they will be up under the barn’s overhang, but spending days outside in the freedom of the big woodlot, pleases them. Happy sows, happy cows and less chores for me !



A Moo…ving Experience
Ka-boss, come along girls

Ka-boss, come along girls

July 1, 2015

As part of my rotational grazing method of raising livestock, I moo-ve my cows often 😮  I just need one gal to follow along and all the rest follow her. Now that we have been doing this a while, I say Ka-boss and they come running. They know that something good is about to happen! Even last years calves, still sucking moms, beat feet to the gate or new place that I am taking them.

My horse pasture is an area of almost six acres. I only have three draft horses on that paddock, so they can’t keep up with the grass, especially at this time of year. They also eat their favorite places down and leave other areas alone. I put the cows in there with them, just before mowing the pasture. The cows aren’t as picky. They eat the tall grass and anything else that grows pretty much. This makes great use of my forages, keeps all the grass growing well and rids the pasture of a few weeds in the process.

Having tame livestock is a plus, but once they know there is a reward for coming, even the surly ones follow the rest. The young stock go where mom goes. They stay together even grazing in a little herd. They go to the water at the same time and even rest together. The horses keep to themselves too. They don’t chase the cows, but definitely rule the pasture. They drink first. They come in first. and the cows move out of the way. I’m not sure how they learned this, but it goes on this way no matter which horses or cows that I have had over the years. I don’t question it any more. I’m just grateful it woks out so well.



Happy As A Pig In ………. Shhhhhh
June 17, 2015, 1:06 pm
Filed under: June 2015 | Tags: , , , , , ,
Momma Pig enjoying a day out

Momma Pig enjoying a day out

June 17, 2015

Our sow herd is out on pasture. They seem to love that space. The have several wallows thanks to all of our recent rains. They munch clover and grass while rooting after who knows what. They rest in the shade, lay in the sun and romp and play whenever they want to do it. They feel no stress. They come when I call to eat grain, but mostly they just relax and enjoy the summer breeze as it cools their skin.

I have three mature sows, two bred gilts and a boar in a four acre pasture. The older gals will farrow in a month or so. The young gilts will not have babies until early October. I will let them all have their babies out on pasture. I do give them little hoop houses to use if they choose. Some will use them, but others will make a nest in a spot of their choosing and fill it with baby pigs.

My fences are made from woven wire. The pigs are happy and not hungry. They stay where I put them because there is no reason to break out. When the grass gets short, I move the herd to another field. I give them grain daily, keeping an eye to not get them too fat. Fat mommas are lazy moms who will smash their babies, too lazy to jump up off a squealing piglet. Big moms are okay so long as they are fit. The walking and playing in my pastures helps keep them fit.

I want good healthy sows who give birth to strong healthy piglets. Keeping them in the manner that I do helps to insure this happens. The lack of stress, a clean place to play, eat and sleep also keeps my herd on the right track. I tried yoga once for them, but as close as I got was them all looking at my border collie through the fence… I guess it’s a pig’s version of “Downward facing dog”… 😮