Thursday, April 30, 2015

Garden Tilling and Sheep Pictures

I shifted focus today to the garden finally. Since my hoping to get a 3 point tiller to replace my old walk behind one has not been successful I rented one just to get the tilling done.

Let me tell you that was the biggest walk behind tiller I have ever seen in my life. I should have taken a picture of it because it was literally almost the size of my 8N. It did a number on the garden plot though but it was so heavy that not only did it wear me out manhandling it, it broke my wooden ramp putting on my trailer. I had to get out the heavy duty metal ramp to load and unload the thing.

This year I am focusing on the sheep more than anything else. I almost decided not to garden at all this year but I do have my on going bean breeding to think of and I wanted to put in a Pumpkin patch. So I settled on reducing the actual garden area to about 10% of normal and am going to seed the rest of the approximately half acre garden area in Buckwheat. I need to work mostly on fencing this year but I wasn't going to just let the garden area go to weeds. With the new holding paddock I put around the barn at the end of the season I can also let the sheep out into the spent garden and Buckwheat as well.

Or that's the plan anyway.

You can see the very edge of the tilled garden area by the first gate on the left. This holding paddock which was stage one of the fencing project is encloses in about an acre around the back and West side of the barn. I use this area to store my trailers, tractor blades and other implements etc. It is also the only rout down into the hayfield without going through the horse pasture. Needless to say it collects a lot of stuff that is being moved around. Cinder blocks, pallets, T-posts, you name it. Nothing really dangerous but it's always been a pain to mow and weed eat around all those things. Now every week or so I can just turn the sheep out there and let them do all my mowing and weed eating for me. That is also why this area needed all the gates so from here I can let the sheep out to whatever pasture or area I select.

This is the strip of the Pumpkin patch I tilled. It borders up next to the edible hedge I am growing that is full of Wild Plum, Mulberry and other assorted trees from the area. The powerline guys come by once every 10 years or so and cut all the wild fruit trees down but I don't care. Eventually my bet is as things decline they won't show up and I will have all those trees growing back. Until then though I tilled this bordering section up and will plant Pumpkins there. Why? Just because. If nothing else I can feed them to the sheep.

At the end where you see the Cedar Trees is the West side of the Stage two fencing. That small pasture will enclose about 2 and a half acres. Another two weeks or so and the lambs should be big enough to let out there. Until then they will have to remain dry lotted or limited to the holding paddock.

Here Patch (our first born lamb of the season and the lucky Black ewe) has found a bit of gravel I dropped out in the holding paddock left over from when we leveled out the pad for my Mom's little mini-house. Patch has started learning the joys of fresh grass now and is growing like a weed herself.

This little girl is trying to convince her mom to get up because she is hungry. Mom doesn't look too worried about it though does she?

The young Rams like to find points of interest in the barn or out in the holding paddock and defend them against all challengers. Castration day is scheduled for next week so I think there are 14 little boys out there in for a bit of a surprise soon.

Tomorrow will be a bee day and hopefully I will start planting this years mini-garden a bit. I already managed to get the Potatoes in one of the raised beds this evening.

This dry week has allowed me to make a huge dent in the backlog I had but to be honest I am starting to worry a bit now. Seeing things this dry at the end of April is a bit scary. I cannot even remember the last time I was able to till before the middle of May before.

Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!


  1. Plant garlic Preppy. It I plant nothing else, I always plant garlic. It grows well enough and requires minimal care.

    We had rain last weekend - over an inch - but the weather here is always so odd I can't tell year to year what is "normal". On the bright side, be glad you are not in California facing their drought.

    Land looks very good indeed.

    1. TB - I planted Garlic a few years back and it rotted in the ground. Usually any root type crops rot here if planted before June. I might put some in one of the raised beds though.

      We have had our share of droughts. 2012 sucked rocks bad. Last year we were on the verge of one off and on and I am betting we will be in the abnormally dry map after this week too.

      As much as I complain about rain droughts will really make me bitch.

  2. I have never seen a tiller that big, around here, our ground is so hilly that it would probably roll over. The ground looks really good. My pumpkins all rotted last year but the butternut did really well, you might want to put part of the patch into something besides pumpkins just in case. We have more rain now so no tilling here but I did get the kiwi planted.

    1. Sf - Well I exaggerated a little :) Honestly though it was honky huge I couldn't believe it when it snapped my wooden loading board.

      The main issue with that patch was that it was uneven and had a small ditch in it I wanted to till out. Perhaps you are right though I should put something else in there.

      No rain forecast for us for another week yet.

  3. Are baby sheep as fun to watch as baby goats? They sure are fun to watch chasing each other around. My Aunt that I used to visit when I was a child had a Billy Goat that would ram you just like your Rams try to do. You had to keep eye contact with old Billy as you walked across the yard. If you turned your back or looked away, watch out! Here he comes! Then if you turned back and looked at him, he would slam on the brakes. That was big fun for us children!

    1. SD - I don't have any experience with a whole bunch of baby goats but the lambs run around and play games and jump and headbutt and carry on making it fun to watch em. Honestly though I get a kick out of watching even the adult sheep at times too. They stay together mostly and will suddenly bolt kinda acting like a flock of birds. The neighbor farmers will often stop when they see I have the sheep out in the big pasture and blow their air horns just to watch the flock bolt. It really is funny and I can't blame em.

  4. Good sized garden. Makes my squash patch look small! Do you bother with paths or not? Sheep look healthy. I need to get a pen sorted to get mine in and have a look at them up close as I haven't yet. They're a bit wild as they're only hoggs.

    1. Kev - When I plant the whole thing I have paths. Usually a large central path and then off shoot ones between the rows running to the edge. Some of them I put old metal roofing sheets down to save weeding time and then I cover the entire thing in barn left overs, old hay, sheep poop that sort of thing. I put several inches of that stuff down for weed control. Last year I think it took like 72 wheel barrow loads. I also put a heavy mulch of grass clippings down as well in spots.

      Not sure what I am going to do with all the barn waste this year now since I will only need about 25% of what I get. Hmmmmmm.

  5. PP,

    I so can understand downsizing the garden due to other priorities needing accomplished. The tiller you rented did a great job, I never got around to picking up the tiller we were suppose to rent. Ended up doing things by hand, boy talk about a pain in the neck to get done!!! I believe our personal tiller will have to go to tiller heaven soon since hubby is not able to fix the darn thing. Parts are no longer available......time to look for another.

    Great pictures of your goats, love the one with the little one trying to get mom up so he/she can feed.

    1. Sandy - Ya my big walk behind bit the dust. It ate a second transmission and they almost cost as much as a new tiller to replace. Three point tillers are minimum of 1200 new and I haven't seen a used one in forever.

      The lambs can be pretty insistent on the old milk source :)


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