Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Rain, Sheep and Permaculture Planning

It's been pouring down rain most of the morning and the temperature is steadily dropping. I am a bit worried about the blooms on the fruit trees right now but only marginally. Most of them are still too young to let them produce anyway.

I am now 100% positive we lost the last two of the old mighty producers this Summer. Not sure if it was the drought as they are both in fairly moist areas but something finally stressed them out enough to give up the ghost. As near as I can find out those trees have been fully grown for well over 50 years and no one can remember them being otherwise so they were approaching the end anyway.  I am going to miss making my honey apple butter for a few years though unless I use purchased apples, also assuming I ever get any actual honey again as well.

The barn is still filled to the brim with sheep. I believe we are up to 14 baby lambs now and 4 kittens (Ya I added them in). Speaking of kittens mommy is now up to the point that she will leave them for short periods and embrace her curiousness once again. She was in with me for a while yesterday under foot while I was finishing up the shelves and somehow managed to get herself in a precarious predicament. Somehow she was wedged in between the rough plank inner wall and the outer wall and had no way to jump to a safe location so she meowed until I saved her. I still can't believe that cat had kittens she is just kitten sized herself. On the plus side we now have three of the four kittens spoken for. Their mother is such a little charmer that she has assured a demand for her offspring without any solicitation, threats or begging on my part. That is very unusual to say the least. I am starting to get a bit suspicious that all four would already be spoken for but that my mother and the Mrs. are pulling a scam so they can manage to keep one by telling other interested parties that they are all promised to someone. This bears watching because as I said there is no more room at the inn. Regardless mommy cat is getting fixed as soon as these kittens are weaned I can't believe we allowed her to even have kittens to begin with but as I said I just didn't think she was old enough which is pretty naive on my part as I knew how long she had been with us. I was just lulled by her perpetual kitteness that I didn't think about it.

Anyway I had to help separate out a couple of yearling whethers  this morning and load them up for a trip to market. The Mrs. was not happy about one of them as she has grown rather attached to him. Apparently he follows her around while she is on her daily sheep poop pickup patrol. Personally I kinda liked that little fellow as well as he was very friendly and quite playful but the reality is that you cannot give in to that kind of sentimentality especially with what I see coming towards us for the future. It's best she get's used to it now I think.

The race is on now with the latest storm coming through. I am going to have to start mowing by this weekend and the area I want for the new fruit trees still isn't cleaned out and has too many deep ruts in it to mow with the smaller mowers. I really wanted to get that ground tilled and evened out before the rains and mowing got started and now the ground is going to be too wet for a bit. This may mean I will have to break my 20 horse power or less rule and use one of the big tractors to brush hog and plow it up later. I have been thinking about getting a plow for the 9N and I know where one is so maybe I will need to add that to the list.

Yep the list just never ends but I am happy about the rain. Four inches so far this morning. Bring it on...We need all we can get.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!


  1. Do you get sleepy counting the sheep??? You getting just rain or ice/snow?? 88 here today in Fla. Way too hot. I heard 9 hurricanes this coming year. Glad we will be north in a month.

    1. Rob - Just rain so far although it got kinda chilly here over night. Yes those hurricanes and Trop storms are a real bish. I used to have a condo down in Key West on the Atlantic side and one time we rode out just a small tropical storm there. Never again.

  2. Yes, even sweet kitties can be hard to give away.

    So how much do you need to feed your sheep? I am assuming with drought and winter it is hard for them to live off the land.

    1. Russ - The sheep do pretty well in Spring and Summer and have enough grazing land. If it wasn't for my mothers useless old retired nag horses we would have more than enough pasture and hay production to keep em all fed. Last year was of course very poor hay production so she has been buying hay to keep up. If we took some of the CRP fields out of the program (not my fields but in the family) we could plant enough feed grain to sustain them as well.

      The problem with sheep in Missouri is that you can't really give them too large a pasturage. Lot's of things breeding sheep shouldn't eat grows wild and the predators are thick. As I understand it you need to groom sheep pasturage to keep out some plant life that could harm them.


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