Wednesday, July 2, 2014
The Cutting Crew Update
I don't remember if I mentioned it but I increased the cutting crew by another Whether about two weeks ago. Since I added the bottom wire to the fence in the problem areas Sandwich has been staying where she belongs and the entire crew is making good progress at cleaning out the over grown area. In fact the last few weeks they really seem to have gotten down to a pattern and appear to be incredibly happy in their makeshift pasturage.
This picture was taken at a spot that has been so overgrown for decades there was stuff in there I didn't even know about. A huge old Mulberry tree had fallen over there some 20 years ago and most of the branches had been removed but the main trunk left. The entire spot had been filled in with weed trees and what I had thought was some kind of wild Rose that turned out to be a huge Gooseberry bush.
The crew spends their mornings over in this area eating all the new growth they can reach from the trees and bush and even though the grass is still high it has been eaten down considerably. The only vegetation the sheep appear to steer clear of in the entire fenced off area are the thistle plants that I never really noticed because I had been cutting them with the grass.
While there are still some tall Fescue stalks standing it looks more like a glade with a few weeds standing in it than the sea of tall grass blowing in the breeze like it did before. These girls have saved me at least a couple gallons of gas so far this year not to mention about an hour per mowing cycle and the time it would have taken me to clean out this overgrown area as well.
The only downside I have noticed is that my local Quail population that inhabited the area has moved way down into the back of the hayfield and nag pasture or to the East on the other side of the barn. I used to really enjoy listening to the Males call all day while out in the garden and watching the little furry ping-pong balls on toothpick legs running around under my Squash after hatching all Summer. I think the loss of the covey that was so close and using the garden has also increased my bug problems. I am noticing Potato beetles and a few stink bugs this year that I hadn't had a problem with before. I just didn't consider that running the sheep into that area would have that kind of domino effect but I have not seen any quail running through the yard since I put the sheep out there.
I know the sheep wouldn't harm the quail but my guess is they end up walking over the ground nests and ate down the heavy cover far enough to cause the quail safety concerns with other predators, prolly the damned cats.
Oh well there is a lesson to be learned here. Every action, even in sustainable homesteading, has a reaction. Something to keep in mind I guess.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!