image

The grass is looking fantastic this spring, we’ve had a great mix of warm weather and rain. The abundant feed is a gift, but it comes with the overhead of moving fencing every few days. I was able to start grass rotation on the south property March 5th, and the sheep just returned to that area two weeks ago. It is reed canarygrass (RCG) so though they grazed it down to nubbins in March, it is already taller than me and forming seed heads! It is both a very productive, and vexing grass.

(more…)

Advertisements

clip_image002

I am participating in a WSU compost trial this year. I received 40 yards of donated compost, which happened to come from Cedar Grove (though there are other participating compost companies as well). The idea is to apply it to about an acre of pasture grass, adjacent to an untreated section, and compare the results. The overall goal of the project is to facilitate the pairing of farms and municipal-waste compost product (read: this is kitchen and yard waste from the City People); and to investigate and overcome barriers to these pairings happening more frequently.

Our compost was delivered several weeks ago. They wanted to send a large truck which can deliver 50 yards of compost; but decided they couldn’t get it into our field driveway, because it slopes quite a bit from the road. (This is apparently one of several reasons why compost and farmers don’t pair more often).

 

(more…)

This goes under the people-always-ask-me hashtag #howdoyoudoit? How do you get home from a stressful, drama-coworker, overtime-ridden day at work, a Seattle-area traffic commute, then go out and do farm chores before eating dinner at 8pm (or later)?

I admit, on rainy, cold days, often I hesitate to go out. When I come home wearing my frail office Khakis and a semi-dress jacket, I shiver at the bitter winter cold (bitter, for us, my East Coast friends, is sub-forty…). I’m reluctant to embrace my farmy chores. But of course it’s mandatory, no avoiding it, animals need to be fed, no-matter-what. So, I suit-up in sweatpants, a hoodie, a flannel jacket; and my Muck Boots, toasty off the boot drier. And, out I go.

And then, there is this. Silence; clean air, and this nighttime view of almost nothingness. The whole world shrinks a thousand fold. It’s like submerging undersea from a metropolis land view, passing through a veil.

(more…)

Last weekend we went camping at the foot of Mt. Baker, near the town of Glacier. We camped at the Douglas Fir campground, which has great campsites along the Nooksack River. Normally, camping like this would be a swim fest for our dogs. But not this year: no swimming allowed. Why?

Because of this:

(more…)

First of all, apologies to our friends to the East, who have this:

image

Here in the Pacific Northwest, things look a little different. About this time of year, Mother Nature says, Ding! Your grass is ready to eat!

(more…)

imageI’ve been juggling sheep around quite a bit to try to maximize use of our grass. It’s tricky trying to keep the grass in the phase 2 growth stage all summer. The concept is easy enough, put grazers on a patch towards the end of the phase 2 growth curve, when it’s got maximum mass, then take them out when they’ve grazed it to the point where it would almost be in phase 1. You want to try to keep the grass out of phase 1, because it struggles to get out of that stage and wastes time; and also stay away from phase 3, where the grass blows out to seed. Once it hits that phase 3, it’s less palatable so the sheep eat less, its less nutritious, and its wanting to go dormant instead of push back into a growth phase.

(more…)

We snuck way for some camping a week ago. We made reservations at a new campground we hadn’t tried before- River Meadows in Arlington. The photos and description made it look nice, and I found several good reviews. But omigosh, when we arrived, we were so disappointed. The RV camping area was a dirt patch with big mud puddles, abutting a mowed grass field. Absolutely no privacy between campsites, other than a meager planting of rugosa roses to delineate the boundaries. The place was deserted except for one family with a tent at the end, and a group of twenty-something skinhead punk-looking boys set up with three tents in the space next to ours. They were sitting at their picnic table looking aimless and bored, with what was hopefully a toy semiautomatic rifle. AnnoyedI would have taken a picture of this most pathetic campground ever, but I was too crabby.

(more…)