Spring Seeding 2015

We finally made it to spring….for a while I wondered if I had the fortitude to make it…but here on the first full day of spring I find that I am still alive….

We are down to burning just one wood stove and we are not burning it hot as we have been all winter…but when I got home on Thursday afternoon Marie did have the temperature up to 85 degrees in the house….she is still cold mentally…. And justifiably as the photo below was taken just two weeks ago of Dee Dee cooling it in the snow….

1 cooling it

Just to show how rough they have it the photo below shows a pile of puppies after a hard day playing in the snow….they were piled up on top of me on the sofa….Dee Dee has the good grace to lay along side my legs but Apache wants to pile up on me so I can scratch his belly til he dozes off.  Right now they are trying to convince me to quit typing and go outside with them to play in the mud…

.2 puppy pile

We did that yesterday and they got good and dirty and wet….they were supervising me as I engaged in spring cover crop seeding and temporary fence building.

I have seeded various mixes on 7 paddocks in the last two weeks…five of them were used as sacrifice areas over the winter and two are new cutover land where I have harvested firewood.

Below is a shot of what I refer to as a temporary fence kit.  Some polywire on a spool with a gate handle.  I have small paddocks so I take a 660 foot roll of wire and cut it into three lengths of 220 feet each…. A few step in posts….as you can see I have several types….My favorite is the Obrien Plastic but they are getting hard to find….they will last forever because they are made with a better resin and don’t break when you look at them hard….for this fence the corner is a steel tee post driven into the ground and a five foot length of 2 inch PVC pipe slipped over it…a piece of baler twine for a convenient carrying case……..Took about five minutes to put up the fence…..actually took longer to assemble the materials than to build the fence.  One strand will turn the horses and cattle…the goats are not on this side….takes at least two strands to turn the goats and three works more reliably…

3 temp fence kit

The next photo is during the reseeding of a sacrifice area….The supervisors are checking to see if we have good seed distribution….this is an area where when the weather was decent I threw hay over the fence for the horses….this year I just broadcast early spring seed shut the gate….and walked away….will see what happens…..seeded  spring oats, yellow sweet clover, chicory, ryegrass, red clover and a few pounds of left over fall cover crop mix….the plan was to run a drag over it after seeding….but it is getting late in the season and the fields are too wet for a tractor so I just seeded in the rain and hoped the rain would assist in getting the seed to the ground….there is plenty of mulch and plenty of horse manure….what germinates will do well….

4 front yard A reseeding

The next shot is the other side of the same field….this side did not benefit from the mulch hay…I could reliably throw hay about half way across the field without having to turn off the electric fence…..it was actually shut off and reseeded last week ….again in the rain….seed used was a barley mix with several clovers and rye grass and chicory.

5 front yard be reseeded last week

Then it was on to the new area….this is a section where I cut the firewood we have been burning this winter…..the stumps are still there….in fact with the foul weather I have been unable to burn brush and now there is a burn ban so I had to just move the major brush out of the way and hope to be able to burn it later….now this is true experimentation…..I am not doing anything to this land but putting down a variety of seed and hoping that something will take hold….it is cutover forest so the pH is low and so is the fertility…my agronomist friends tell me that I am crazy…wasting my money on seed without amendment….I do not expect miracles…but I do expect it to start….and once I get the biology going all I have to do is keep a green and growing cover on it and it will come along…..I proved that to myself two years ago with the poor land that I put Rye and vetch on and the land has been transformed into a productive paddock that this year will become part of the grazing rotation….

6 seeding and fence new area

But I digress…these are two small paddocks….the cleared strip is about 30 0r 35 feet wide and maybe 200 feet long….I decided to make two paddocks out of it and seeded it with two slightly different seed mixes.  Both were a spring oats based mix…one had perennial rye grass and the other has annual ryegrass…different mixes of clovers in each….different chicory in each and both has a few pounds of left over fall cover crop mix.  Originally I was going to broadcast and rake in the seed with a hand rake….wet condition and lateness of season altered that plan….the seed was broadcast in the rain….much of it into standing water….chicory, ryegrass and yellow sweet clover were chosen for root mass and penetration to improve permeability.  If it does not do anything I will try again with a summer mix in May…7 seeded and fenced 2

My aim is to try to document my progress with photographs and to report results over the summer…currently there is now sunshine streaming in my window and I am taking the supervisors outside to see what other trouble we can get into….

8 seeded during the rain

Overdue log entry

Friday, March 13, 2015

It has been a while since I recorded any activity….several reasons….since the arrival of the woodsplitter, it and I have bonded….We have split a lot of wood….we have burned a lot of wood…but for the most part we have been warm this winter….second reason…it has been a winter…worst February in years that I can recall…weekly significant snows…cold nights below zero…the fluid in my tractor tires froze….I didn’t want to be a whiner so I just shut up and tried to endure…..But spring finally approaches…it has been warm this week and the snows are finally gone….frogs have been peeping for a couple of days…there is a tint of green to the landscape as early plants begin to break dormancy…This morning I saw a sight I have never seen before….I could hear geese…scanned the sky and finally found a vee of snow geese way high in the sky heading north….must have been forty or so all solid white and way high in a classic vee….now we see geese all the time and we have resident Canada geese that raise young on the pond behind the house annually…some times there are a few white geese mixed in….but this entire flight was white geese…I watched em until they disappeared in the distance….Spent the morning planting some plants I ordered in January….day lillie and sedum….I had almost forgotten about them until they showed up in the mail…mostly went around the dog graves…when I got up there the jonquils are out of the ground and budding and looks like we will have a good crop by each grave….then this afternoon began mixing seed and sowing cover crops on the pastures that have been sacrificed this winter….got three paddocks done……got to relate the excitement last night….the dogs woke me up ….something outside…..I grabbed the judge and stepped out….Perkins was running and neighing frantically….got the best flashlight and soon figured out that the mini donks were with him but he was distraught because Pete and Star Baby were absent…..went in and pulled some jeans and a sweat shirt over my night clothes got in the truck with my spotlight to try to find them….no sign of them anywhere….but it was so wet that there were places I could not get the truck to in order to shine the light….so I parked the truck and grabbed the flashlight again and set out on foot to find them….I walked the place over and checked the perimeter fences…All fences ok…no sign of trauma…but could not find them….was beginning to get worried when finally the light hit something white….It was Star Baby and Pete was right behind her….Since we don’t have a bull here any more, I had let the horses graze the bull lots in the fall and even around the pond and those gates were still open….but they had not been back there since the first snow opting instead for hay welfare…..last night they realized the snow was gone and grass was greening and apparently walked off while Perkins was dozing….I got em back and shut the gate and Perkins was satisfied, but then I had to watch tee vee for an hour before I got sleepy again….then I slept til 7:30 this morning……. I am usually starting to think about lunch at 7:30

Saturday, March 14, 2015

As predicted it began to rain last night….good for my broadcast seedings…Marie was off so we went out for breakfast this morning…went to Shoneys just for a change of pace…not the variety of Golden Corral but I still managed to consume three plates worth and it was good…stopped by Walmart and got groceries and then home…cleaned out the wood stove and then mixed some seed and in a break in the rain managed to broad cast some seed on the maternity lot…started raining again just as I finished…