Monday, May 05, 2008

Farm Updates

Michael has been working hard to get our animals taken care of these last few weeks. After taking the pigs off to the market (butcher), he worked on getting the barn put back together. The pigs caused quite a ruckus in there. Everything was covered in a thick layer of dust from them rooting, and they also did some damage to the barn itself. Before we get pigs again, we will have to make some other accommodations for their stay here on our farm. He now has made the area accessible to the sheep. The Kathadin sheep do not have to have any facilities unless the temperature is extremely cold, but we wanted a place that they could go if they chose to do so. He put a water trough in the stall and he also was able to put out the sheep minerals without fear of the horses eating them or the wind blowing them away.

We went to a friend's house who also owns sheep. (He is the same man that came to help us load the pigs). He had a great idea that we were quick to copy. He took a single strand of electric fence and roped off sections of his yard. He put the electric fence low to the ground so children could step over it easily. He then set out his new found lawn mowers (his sheep) to mow his grass. He is able to easily move the step in posts and wire as needed so his sheep always have fresh grass and his lawn is kept in tip top shape.

Michael took a row of electric fence and fenced off the front half of our back yard. The sheep are now all around our house in the back yard area, but the garden and fruit trees are safe from them as long as the electric fence is working. I was a bit concerned about our English Mastiff wanting to play with our sheep. We just make sure that when we open the gate for the sheep to come in the yard that we put Missy up inside the house. She wouldn't hurt the sheep, but she would give them a run for their money and I could see all of our money in our sheep running to the next county! We make sure they go back into the field at night and close the yard gate. We know the pasture is more secure than the yard so we want them put up at night. I absolutely LOVE sitting outside on our deck and watching them eat. It always brings a smile to my face when I see our 4 year old up in his favorite tree while all the sheep have gathered around him eating the luscious grass all around the tree.

Now that our animals have everything that they need for the time being we are switching gears to the garden area. I have been diligently tending our garden, but it is time for Michael to focus his attention on that now. He will be working on getting more dirt hauled in as well as preparing more beds. I will be assigning a kid to till 2 more beds, but that will not be enough. We have 3 beds left to use and one bed that has been added. The new bed doesn't have any dirt so I can't do much with that for now. Michael also needs to add our drip work system. For the time being, I am watering by hand which takes up a lot of time and it also waste water. I am ready to plant pole beans, cucumbers, and okra from seeds. I just don't have anywhere to put them. I also have pepper plants and tomatoes that will be ready to go in the beds soon. My plants are still too small. Next year I will be ordering my seeds sooner and starting them sooner so they will be larger when it is time to plant. Each year I learn something new to this whole gardening thing. When I get discouraged, I tell myself that it wasn't too long ago that I couldn't even keep a house plant alive. That always makes me feel better about myself.

grace and peace,


Amy said...

I wished I could pull up a chair on your deck and sit with you....It sounds simply beautiful...From your pictures I can see that you are in the middle of some of God's greatest work....Your land is beautiful!:)

God Bless,

Marci said...

That is a great idea for the sheep. Have any attempted to jump over the wire? I told my husband it would be neat to have a movable pen and let them cut our grass for us. It feeds them, fertilizes the area and cuts the grass. =) I sent your post to him at work to read. =)

TnFullQuiver said...

I wish we could enjoy a real live chat too!! That would be a lot of fun.

When we first let the sheep out, our border collie puppy chased them. It startled the sheep and one jumped over the wire. However, she was very easy to get back. With their herd mentality, they don't want to be away from the rest very long. I do keep a good eye on them when they are in the back yard because our fence isn't that secure. I send a child out to check and count them every few hours. I am not worried about the electric fence as much as the fence at the front of the house. There are several holes in that. I also have to keep a good eye out for our border collie puppy. I don't want him to run the sheep. He seems much more content with them out there closer to him.
We used Premiere Fencing company and purchased a moveable electric pen for our chickens. It was expensive, but it has worked great. They also sell them for larger animals such as sheep and even horses. For now, a single strand of electric fence low to the ground is working so we won't be putting any money into a pen.
grace and peace,