October 2016

Phrase for the month is Change of the seasons. Things get really mellow around here around this time of year. Our meat chickens are done for the year, so it’s just hens, sheep, and cattle.

Normally, I give one good last soak to the pasture with irrigation water in October. This year I didn’t do that, on purpose. I noticed the stockpiled forage in the pasture would get mildew on it, then the cattle wouldn’t eat it. So I kept it dry as the grass went dormant, and we have no mildew yet.

For cattle grazing, as the weather gets cold we leave the water trough in one location for the winter- this way frozen hoses aren’t a problem. Then we move the electric fence progressively farther away from this water each day. Sometimes I wonder if it’s worth it this time of year, I could just let the cattle loose in the whole pasture and take a break. But it is better for the pasture this way, I get a little bit of exercise, and the cattle stay accustomed to seeing us in their space.

Each fall our neighbor has been giving us his pasture for grazing, in exchange for a steak or two. This works great, one of the many things I am limited with on this farm is pasture acreage. And time, money, knowledge, etc:) It’s about 4 acres and the cattle have grass for about 2 months out there. We do the same type of grazing as we do on our own pasture, progressively moving the electric fence a little bit each day. Not sure if we’ll get two months back there, we’ll see.

Our lambs are finished and ready for the butcher. But the butcher isn’t ready for the lambs. Their appointment is Nov 22. It’s hunting season and the butcher gets backed up this time of year. I made their appointment in early October.

I gave about 25 older laying hens away in October. A student at Montrose High School is making a project out of them at the school. It was funny, his parents were here when he picked them up, they asked “What are you going to do with these chickens when the school year is done?” The kid said “I don’t know.” Love those teenagers!

Our gardens are done and put to bed. The cattle came through and gleaned the plants, weeds, and tomatoes. The loved every second of it!

Our 2 calves are doing just fine. We are keeping them on momma through the winter, weaning in March. At this stage of the game it’s mental comfort for both of them and a little protein boost to the calves. We’ll see how it goes in March, I will wean them if I have to, but I expect mom to give them the boot. They’re pregnant again and they need to give their extra nutrition to their growing late term calves.

Sorry, no pictures this month. Just a bunch of babble. Peace, J

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