Archive for March, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, the Annunciation:

All winter we’ve held the lactating cows up front on the better forage, while the dry cows, heifers and yearlings cleaned up out back on the paddocks farthest from the dairy, and therefore the longest walk for the milkers.  Monday morning we ran all the cows up to the front of the farm and put them in one paddock, where the the sixteen of them actually look like a respectable herd.  They are pastured now on what we would call a sacrifice paddock, an area where we are going to create a lot of impact, more than we would want in a regular rotation.  There are two reasons for this choice:  one is so that the last of the stockpiled forage will be held in abeyance until green-up, so that the first spring paddocks will still contain some brown, high-carbon stuff to slow down the passage of new green grass through the cows’ gut.  The second reason for hitting this paddock hard is that this corner of the front pasture is only lately reclaimed from the jungle.  Last fall when we ran the cows over that paddock there was a lot of good grass they missed under the briars and cane, because they wouldn’t shove their faces in among the thorns to graze.  Feeding hay on that paddock now, with four-times-sixteen that’s sixty-four hooves cutting into the soil, we’ll disadvantage the cane before green-up, as well as adding lots of good organic matter, some biological activity, and whatever grass seeds spills from the hay or makes it unscathed through the cows’ digestive systems.  Coming up on calving we don’t want too much protein in the dry cows, anyway, so this is a win-win:  good nutrition now, better grazing later.

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plugs and pies

A twelve cc veterinary syringe with the end cut off seems to substitute fairly for a half-inch soil blocker, if you don’t mind that it only makes one at a time.  We started about two hundred peppers and tomatoes this evening, and the small plug size means we can germinate on the table in the hall, more reliably warm than the greenhouse even with the heater on.

The hens in the coupe at the monastery are tearing into those winter cow pies.  Scratching birds are nature’s answer to trash pickup.  Tonight we hitched up the coupe and moved it to the large garden, where many cowpies, dropped here when the cows were brought up during the sub-zero weather, are waiting to be spread.


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Topping the hill to the monastery — about fifteen bronze turkeys stark against the yellow rags of the Barnes meadow, five toms fanning and thumping and strutting while their wives, oblivious, poked and peered like women in the produce aisle.  Proof of spring coming, just when we had despaired of seeing anything springlike before April.

If your cow gets ringworm, and they do, try mustard on the lesions.  She’ll lick it off, of course, but try anyway; it worked on D1, and it seems to have worked on Sweetheart, too — or maybe it was the homeopathic tullerian, or both.

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