Saturday, May 16, 2015
Saturday Catch Up - Who Knew?
Looks like we are on day 3 of rain. We did have a slight break yesterday morning that allowed me to catch up on some of the new bee hive manipulation but the ground is so saturated that any off road movement is limited to walking only or maybe the use of a garden tractor at best.
I was out finishing up some minor details to the fence when I looked down into the hayfield and saw this furry animal in a small to medium sized Mulberry tree that has grown up in the fence line between the hayfield and the useless nag pasture.
We have more Mulberry trees than I can count around the place. Anywhere there is a fence or pole for a bird to perch on there is a Mulberry tree sprouting at it's base, or growing next to it or in the fence if it is so far back I haven't cleared that section yet. We have at least six or seven small to medium sized ones around the yard and barn I have allowed to keep growing for shade and a bit of forage food for the animals. More importantly though I leave the Mulberry trees for my son. He literally starts walking around grazing on Mulberries this time of year. He even eats em before they are ripe which concerned me when he first started doing it 15 or more years ago but now a days I don't even pay attention. I have read they can cause hallucinations but he has never seemed to suffer any ill effects from them.
There are several Mulberry trees around the Ram's paddock. The Ram LOVES Mulberry leaves and keeps the low hanging limbs stripped of leaves but he doesn't chew on the trunk or bark itself. The useless nags don't either which is probably why that particular tree managed to survive better than others out in the pasture. My son used to go into the Ram's paddock and eat Mulberries while holding the limbs down for the Ram to eat the leaves. They had a mutually beneficial grazing pact in place that was quite comical to watch.
I will also burn Mulberry wood as it is a pretty decent firewood to be honest. The trees grow fairly fast and the wood is dense and very rot resistant as well. If I could find any straight sections I bet Mulberry would make good fence posts too. The Male Mulberry trees are the ones that produce pollen and the bees will gather it for Spring build up food which is another reason I leave em bee (Pun intended) whenever possible.
Apparently the Sheep are not the only ones around here that love Mulberry leaves though because when my curiosity finally got the better of me and I walked the 50 yards or so down to investigate the critter in the tree it turned out to be a very large, fat Groundhog. I never knew those things could actually climb trees. This particular groundhog has a burrow up under the loafing shed and has lived quite peaceably in the pasture for years now. We come into contact about every time I am down there and since he or she never ventures up to the garden I leave it alone. When I am brush hogging down that way I always do slow passes near it's normal range area so it knows I am there and can get out of the way and when I am on foot it pretty much pays me no mind at all anymore. There it was though about 20 foot up that tree chomping away on Mulberry leaves.
I came into the house and did a google search and sure enough about 90% of all the stories, posts or articles I found about groundhogs in trees involved a Mulberry tree.
One thing I like about Small-Hold farming. You learn something new almost every day.
Keep Prepping Everyone!!!!!