Grass rules everything around me

It’s the second week of May, but it feels like spring was on fast forward and somehow we’ve already arrived in late June. Orchard grass and fescue are already fully headed out (and of course sweet vernal, but that’s normal); it’s been clear and in the mid 70s during the day / high 50s overnight, with just enough rain to make things really explode. We started our first pass on the flat field south of the barn in mid April, and roughly three weeks later we’re back there, with incredible re-growth.

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Compared to last spring, which was wet and cool following an exceptionally cold winter, our grass is growing at breakneck speed and I’m already slowing them down in long, narrow paddocks to encourage as much trampling of the lignified long stems as possible. The sheep get picky and tend to pluck off the individual leaves of grass, instead of grabbing big bites like in early, lush growth. They got used to being moved twice a day for the first couple weeks on pasture, so that we didn’t hit that early growth too hard, so now they yell at me in the evening, indignant that I would make them eat their broccoli, too.

Birch’s creamline is much thicker now, though.

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This photo is looking roughly south, I’ve skipped over most of the north and northeast facing slopes, see if letting them rest longer will benefit the poorer areas. And not while it’s too wet, I don’t want the sheep churning up bare soil.

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Looking northeast, the hill in the background is the neighbors’ cow pasture. His father would bring a draft team over to plow for the Wallaces (folks who built our house). They live on the wife’s property on the North Carolina side, but still keep a few cow/calf pairs on the husband’s old homeplace. This winter, it seems they opted to winter the cows at home, and just brought them back a few weeks ago. I missed hearing their low rumble in the morning for hay. On hot days they tend to camp out in the shade along the creek/road, or in the trees along the ridgeline. Same with the sheep, except that because I confine them in small paddocks with electric fence, I have to set up a shade tarp. They do quite a bit of pooping in that spot; thus I’m trying to be strategic about where I set it up each day.

Thankfully the clouds rolled back in this weeks, and cooler weather in the low 60s is predicted for the next week. I’m not ready for full-on summer, yet.

Sarina Roscigno