Hello from Graze-N-Grow. With the recent blanket of white stuff, as well as cold temps, I’m thinking we have just skipped right into December and I had better get my Christmas shopping wrapped up quick. In the old days of ear corn picking, we normally would still be filling the last cribs at this time. I don’t miss those cold, windy days on an open tractor that ended most of our harvest seasons. Most crops are in the bin around us, and I usually look forward to some mild fall days after harvest to get work projects done before winter sets in for good. I hope we can have that warm spell yet, but we will see. I did get some litter spread on 20 acres of bean stubble before getting wheat drilled. There’s still plenty of manure to get spread, but conditions still favor progress.

Ruth helped me build a hoop house on skids for the laying hens that we will pull through the pasture next year behind the grazing sheep to allow them sunshine, bug, and forage to supplement their corn based diet. We parked it for the winter with a composting manure base topped with straw for added heat. Research has shown dramatic improvement in vitamin content versus indoor confinement egg production, and while our small flock effort is miniscule, we and our customers appreciate the difference. Although lacking the rumen of our sheep and cattle, placing both broilers and layers on pasture can be beneficial in improving their health, as well as the health of the ruminants that follow plus fertilizing the soil, all without starting a tractor.

We still have cover crops to graze, but with the recent 15-degree temps, some of the turnips are zapped. The rams will be put back in with the ewes around Pearl Harbor Day for May lambing, and I hope winter will allow for open grazing for at least part of that time.

Since all of our remaining ram lambs are May and June born, we’ve been selling off the bigger ones as customers call before we can get them to bigger weights, 90-plus pounds, that others are waiting for, but with patience, all will be rewarded. We continue to enjoy conversations with our longtime customers as they come to pick up meat and eggs and their enthusiasm for the pasture system we employ. We are blessed to provide them with satisfying food, and we hope all you folks will find someone locally who would enjoy providing you with that same satisfaction, especially with our season of thanksgiving approaching. We all have so much to be thankful for. Happy trails.

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