Hello from Graze-N-Grow. I hope as you read this you are enjoying spring weather. The ewes here, as well as the cows, are watching for the rye to get going. So am I, as feeding hay is not only tiresome, but expensive.

I need to get my seed order in for planting the bean stubble to oats and peas and whatever else I can throw in with it. I’ve just started feeding the triticale baleage last week, and since the ewes wasted too much, it will be cow feed. They love it and clean it up like I clean up ice cream. It should be good for third-trimester cows and should carry them until green-up. I frost seeded red clover on about 20 acres with variety not stated seed, but I have some better stuff along with white clover and alfalfa I intend to interseed into some pastures that are grass dominate.

We sold our last old crop lamb last week, but will have some open ewe lambs available after preg-checking. We’ve already sold a new crop lamb to a regular customer from Chicago to be picked up next week and expect calls from our other regulars for Orthodox Easter.

Finally, our search for a guard dog to help us with spring pasture lambing has yielded two Anatolian Shepherd 4-month-old pups. We will be going to Joplin, Mo., for them as soon as we can get away. They are a little young to rely too heavily on, but I’m sure they at least know how to bark, and Sherlock and Dakota will hopefully mentor them well. It will be a period of adjustment for everyone, I’m sure. It may be a bit noisy at night out in the lambing pasture, but it’s closer to our neighbors — Heidi’s family — than us, so we won’t be the ones listening to them. Maybe I should warn them.

Ruth and I were blessed with a free pig last February, compliments of the park staff at HennepinCanalState Park about a mile east of us. It seems two pigs have been roaming the 500-acre park since last fall, and they finally caught one in their maintenance shed and wanted me to dispose of it. It had one ear half gone from predators, as well as a chunk out of its ham, but had healed, so I guess it was the faster hog as the other hasn’t been seen for a while. Amazingly, it was tame as a show pig, even after being outside away from people for so long.

We took it to get butchered as it was all of 280 pounds, and, boy, is that meat tasty. The point of this rather lengthy story is the fact that this animal had a smorgasbord of corn, sunflowers, Big Buck clover and other stuff planted there every year for the deer, doves and other wildlife and although he looked like a typical modern hog, his meat is redder and the flavor is great. When our livestock have access to such a diet and can pick and choose for themselves — whether sheep, cattle, goats, chickens or pigs — it’s good for them and good for us. At least, if we can prevent ear loss. Go, guard dogs. Happy trails.

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