Doing the happy dance

When I got home last night the goal was to reset my ElectroNet.  Gel and I put the sheep and cattle out into the side pasture and I got to work.  Agh, what an awful job it is setting that fence when the ground is dry and hard.  I had paths mowed around the area I wanted to use so all I needed to do was to touch it up with the mower.  Even taking down the fence when it’s dry is a lot of work.  I wish my hands were bigger so I could easily hold all the fence in one hand, but alas, it almost always ends up a tangled mess.  Untangling ElectroNet when you are sweating is just no fun.  At least the bugs were not bad.  Several of the posts are bent and I need to figure out a way to fix them.  That’s a Wally question the next time he’s over, which should be this weekend.  I only used two rolls of ElectroNet which means the sheep and cattle are in a smallish area, but that has been done purposefully.  In the last place they were fenced, they had too much room to roam and pick and choose what they wanted to eat.  They left a lot of tall grass stocks that they ate the seeds off.  Now I have to mow that down.  In a smaller area, they will be forced to eat most all the grass and what they don’t eat will get tromped down.  I’m trying to use the mob grazing  approach which as I’ve said before, makes a lot of sense.

I was very pleased to see that the back field has been cut and they should roll the hay today.  I will ask for one of the rolls to be put on my property so I can use it as a fall back if I run out of places to set my ElectroNet.  Praying for rain and  unfortunately, there’s none in sight.  At least there was a good spring cutting.  I talked to Marcus last night and he said they put up 5,000 bales of hay already.  That’s good.  The prices are reasonable.  When I get my Economic Stimulus Check this month, I’ll buy 50 square bales and put them up in Wally’s barn.  That, along with a few round bales, should take me through the winter.

Marcus and I discussed what to do with the cattle and goats.  He needs to wean the goat kids.  Goats will be easier to feed than the cattle.  I believe Marcus has a pasture set aside for the cattle and hopefully I’ll continue to have access to them.  We haven’t talked about that yet.  He’ll have new calves born this fall so hopefully we can continue with this arrangement: I take the stock he has to wean to my place to work.  This gives me the opportunity to have fresh stock to work; lots of challenges there.  He’ll be getting these calves back in excellent shape and very tame.  So, if all goes well, I’ll soon have a small flock of goat kids and I’ll buy all the billies and keep them until the fall for butchering.

Fern is managing the sheep quite well though.  She put them up in the ElectroNet this morning while Gel put up the cattle.  When I move the ElectroNet it’s always harder getting the sheep in it because it’s a new location.  Sheep are creatures of habit.  Fern is staying well off them and lying down on her own to relieve pressure.  She understands gathering and bringing stock to me.  She’s a nice puppy.  I’m hoping to have her ready to enter in the ASCA trial I first entered with Gel in April in Ball Ground, GA.  I now understand the rules to play by in ASCA trials so it should be a lot easier this time around.  The problem is I’ll need to enter both Gel and Fern (heaven forbid I go to a trial and don’t run Gel) and may have to take out a loan in order to pay for it!  The trials are expensive, but it breaks down, run-by-run close to what USBCHA runs are; the difference is you get a lot more runs in a day in ASCA which makes driving to a trial more worthwhile to me.

While I have no intention of breeding Fern, well, unless she turns into a superstar, she’d make a wonderful mother.  She’s mothering those kittens as if they were her own.  Last night, one of the smaller ones came up to her and started to look for the milk bar.  Fern stayed where she was (she lies at the base of the couch right at my feet).  When the kitten realized there was no meal to be had, she curled up against Fern’s abdomen and fell asleep.  If I could have got up and got my camera without disturbing them I would have taken a photograph.

Now that I have the ElectroNet set, I can relax a bit tonight.  I want to move my air chair to a different location within my sitting area and when that’s done, take some photographs.  It’s so pretty and relaxing in there.  I’m thinking now about what I want to plant in there.  I think I may make some trips to flea markets this weekend and look for interesting containers and just plant a few containers of ferns and leave it at that for this year.  There’s no sense adding more ground plants to the watering program.  I’ll probably put a layer of pine needles down to keep the weeds under control.  Even in a drought, weeds grow.

Last year during the drought I stopped filling up the duck’s swimming pool and just allowed them to go down to the pond every day.  This resulted in them ultimately going wild and it took a lot to get them caught and back up in their pen during the winter months.  This year I have been filling their pool, but I hate to think of the amount of water it’s taking to fill the pool.  So, when it comes time to dump it, which now is about twice a week, I take the water out of the pool with buckets and pour the water into a garbage can that I carry in the wagon that attaches to my ATV.  I then use that water to water my vegetables and herbs.  I figure if I’m not using water from the well to water my plants, I can use it to fill the duck pool.  There’s some fertilizing effect to be had by using the water from the duck pool so I think it’s all going to work out fine.  I except I’m going to have to start going to the laundromat to do my laundry starting this week.  Anything to conserve well water.  Last year I had planted a garden, no where near as nice as the one I have this year, but when it got so dry, I just let it die.  I’m not going to let that happen this year!

So, we are all managing well here.