May 21, 2024

From the Pastures: Puppies for sale

Hello from Graze-N-Grow. It’s been great so far this December to do chores without having to break the ice on the energy-free waterers we use here. Pretty much all fieldwork has been done by now around here, and with Ken’s help we have all the rye seeded, although those fields planted after Nov. 18 have yet to emerge. No worries, though. I’m sure it will grow next spring anyway and that happened to us on some last year. Rye is so amazing it’s been said it would germinate if planted on a bald head, but I’m not going to test that assumption. Winter forecasts are proving true so far — warmer, drier than normal — which makes it much more comfortable for man and beast.

Nov. 22 was “Happy Day” here for the rams as that was turnout day with the flock. I continue to feed a little hay on their remaining pasture, but eventually it will be hay only. I wish that I had planted a grazing cover crop on some of our double-crop acres after wheat since organic beans proved less than profitable, excluding crop insurance.

Without herbicide, it’s difficult to eliminate volunteer wheat without time and tillage prior to bean planting, which would make it too late to expect a viable crop. So, next summer the 95 acres of wheat will be followed by a grazing mix for the steers and sheep.

My latest enterprise with the Angus cross bucket calves may also benefit from grazing a high-gain cover crop blend, if not sold sooner. Ruth has volunteered to not help with that winter chore, but that’s OK. She did help when I raised some bottle goats a couple years ago and that was probably all the fun she needed for a long time.

We have just expanded our guard dog population with the recent litter of seven pups. They are in a doghouse in the ewe pasture and they have already been introduced to the sheep, at least to one ewe who decided to take up residence beside them. It’s a large doghouse, more like a condo. So, come Valentine’s Day we will have some great prospects for guard dogs and perfect timing. Sure beats a box of chocolates. They are mostly black-and-white Karakachan/Maremma cross. Look them up on Google. The dad looks just like the picture. I could send pictures to put under the Christmas tree if interested. Enough with the sales pitch.

Just remember what we are celebrating this Christmas season. God sent his Son to save those who believe, so be sure to give Him your attention this Christmas — you surely have His. Merry Christmas.

Jim Draper

Jim Draper

Sheffield, Ill.