Saturday, February 12, 2011

Gardening work and lambs

Today I got on the tractor and disced my garden.  I love doing this in the spring.  Ok, it's still winter but discing it now was good because I was able to get weeds turned under.  I'll disc it again before I'm ready to plant.  I was hoping to put in some raised beds but I'm running out of time for this season.  I may be able to get some of them in.  But for now, I'll probably end up just planting in my long rows. 

The main vegetable garden is about 50 X 50 this year.  I think I'm going to do something different with the corn this year.  The barn was set up by the previous owner for horses.  There are four inside stalls and each stall has a 15X50 foot outdoor run.  I am thinking about blocking one of the runs off and planting the corn in it.  It won't be as large of an area as I usually plant the corn but it will be in good soil and when the ears are picked I can just let the animals back into the pen to eat the stalks down. 

I gave the renters asparagus crowns today and those will get planted soon.  Renter said they aren't supposed to get planted until after the frost ends but I said it's ok to plant them now.  It's been getting down into the 20s at the bug-out place at night but the ground isn't freezing and the daytime weather is warm enough.  I told him that they should be planted near the bank of the creek.  They'll do wonderfully there.  Renter remembers picking wild asparagus near the creeks when he was a boy.  He's looking forward to it again. 

In a few more weeks we'll get the fruit trees for bug-out place.  I'm in a bit of a pickle because the chunk of money that I've been talking about isn't going to arrive until the beginning of April at the earliest.  That's too late for bare root season.  I don't want to miss out on planting the fruit trees because last year I didn't plant anything at all at the bug-out place.  I'm going to have to figure out how to buy everything in February and March and not run out of money to pay my bills.  But, it will get done. 

We had our first lamb yesterday.  It was a girl.  The grandkids are happy because they get to name it.  We have four females who were breed last fall so hopefully I'll get some males to put into the freezer! We have three more ewes to go, including my oldest ewe who always produces twins. 

I've got friends who live about three hours away and they swap males with me so I end up with new breeding stock every other year.  They are in a swapping group of about six or seven others who have Barbados sheep as well so I don't have to worry about any inbreeding issues.  

Barbados are interesting sheep.  They love yellow star thistle and will eat it all.  I no longer have a star thistle problem.  They eat the plants prior to them seeding, although they will eat the actual star thistle flowers, so their droppings won't be spreading seed throughout the property.  The down side to Barbados sheep is that they are very skittish.  Even if you bottle feed the lambs they will still most likely run from you if you go out into the pasture.  If you want them to come you'll have to have them chased.  One of my friends can get them to go into the stall with the bribe of grain and alfalfa.  But even then they put the grain and alfalfa in the stall and wait nonchalantly near by.  They have the gate rigged with a rope so once the sheep are in the stall they can pull the rope and the gate will close. 

If one of the sheep ever gets loose and off your property you will have a hard time corralling it to get it back.  May be better off just shooting it and putting it up.

1 comment:

  1. I planted a whole garden in an old horse corral once. It was one of the best gardens I ever had. Very few weeds and really big healthy plants. I garden in raised beds filled with mushroom compost and worm castings now: just as good if not better than the horse corral. ;)