Hello from Graze-N-Grow. Although we’ve had very little rain these past few weeks, we do have a lot of humidity. It’s not too great for our comfort but it does allow for some pretty good dewy mornings. This is helping the pastures tolerate the heat and offers a great view while walking the pastures early in the morning. Spider webs heavy with that dew make a picturesque scene and are only a small part of the miniature livestock that inhabit our pastures.

I notice also the monarchs during the day, and although I see them regularly there are only a couple at a time when in the past I would see them by the dozens. Habitat, especially milkweed, is important to their survival. I’m sure many of you who mow the road ditches mow around the milkweed to help the monarchs. Maybe it does help, but I’m sure there is more to it than habitat alone.

Other creatures like the bumblebee and the honey bee, while still present, are a lot less numerous around home than years ago. An interesting entomologist from South Dakota, Jonathan Lundgren, is doing some great research on the ecological consequences of our current chemical use and offers strategies for us as food producers to restore our biological communities.

To that end, we hope our recent cover crop planting will provide for the “little livestock” while feeding the sheep and cattle. We planted a fall grazing blend and a winter grazing blend that will also supply some much-needed early spring grazing. Each planting has 12 or 13 species and, although it has seen no more than a quarter inch of rain, it has emerged.

Our annual ethnic holiday lamb sale is sold out already since we switched to spring lambing on pasture for most of our ewes. We could have sold at least 100 more since demand is strong but we’re hoping later sales will make up for it now that we have a year-round facility.

Ruth and I will be traveling to Missouri on Aug. 18 to visit the Boatright family who are “flerding” their sheep, cattle and goat flocks and herds into one grazing unit. We are just now beginning to do that here this summer to allow pastures more recovery time during the summer slump. We hope also that the cows could supplement the guard dogs as coyote deterrents whenever they get to bonding.

Their ranching experience might offer us some additional motivation to continue the concept. It’s always good to get away for a while to gain a new perspective on things. I hope you all will find time before harvest to get away, as well. Happy trails.

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