Boring is necessary

I had lots of help on Saturday, Mr I Need a Belt Bad and Mr Professional came out. Mr I Need a Belt Bad and I helped Annmarie sort sheep first thing in the morning. We had the sheep in the barn first then set up the gates. It’s easier if we do the gates first but the simple fact is using the gates and sorting chute is one of the best decisions we have made when it comes to raising sheep. It doesn’t take up much space and we can sort them whenever we need. We never want to sort the sheep, its always a need. We needed to sort off more lambs that were over 90 days old. We got 18 more pulled off and even managed to mark three of the little girls as savers and future breeders for us, they are incredibly calm. We proceeded to push them through the front hillside and over into the orchard pasture. This would have gone smoother if Mouse had not decided that he knew how to herd sheep better than Annmarie’s directions and just as they neared the gate he broke and rushed in. There was some chasing of a particular sheep and yelling and some creative word play. On the next attempt the dogs listened and the sheep went through the gate. This all leads to the necessity of a woven fence on top of our rock wall to keep the sheep out of the yard. We also want to keep the dogs out of our yard so we can get a no hole yard. This whole process only took one hour. It used to take around 2-3 hours before the chute and then you had to chase the sheep around the barn and dive on them or catch them mid air when they tried to leap away. It was entertaining but a lot more work and we are not getting any younger. Our ram is starting to lose weight and it looks like some of our ewes are pregnant. We hope so as he only has one job.

Mr I Need a Belt Bad and I then stayed in the barn and proceeded to get it ready for hay. We did this by putting all of the netting and hay string into empty 50# feed bags and tossing them into the back of the pickup. The dumpster is still on the property and got emptied Friday so it needs to be filled again. I was hoping that I could be done with one more week but after emptying two hay rooms and picking up all of the netting and more buried twine we filled the entire dumpster with the addition of all of the feed bags from the chicken coop. I still have a lot of items in the old house that need to be round filed so the dumpster will have to stay for one more week to get filled for the last time, a total of 6 yards of trash will have been removed from the farm. I sure am glad we have weekly trash service. Once we had all of the trash corralled we went into the barn and reorganized some wood. I had built a loft over the sheep feeding area and had been storing wood on it. We reorganized the room over the tack room and then moved and restacked all of the lumber except the 1×12 boards into that room. I used the 1×12 boards to toss down and cover some of the holes in the decking. We are going to start haying soon and we have a couple acres of cheat grass. The flood ruined a couple of the fields and now there is a lot of cheat grass. I just about had it under control in a couple of fields and it is back. So we are going to hay it and use it for bedding. The bales will be stored up on the walkway and you will be able to just cut them open and dump them off the walkway. The sheep will break them up and spread them out. It’s a great use for them and stops me from having to buy straw. It also lets me work out any kinks in the baling process before I get to the good grass. Practice is essential as we have only used it for one year. When it comes time to clean out the barn I need to open up all of the doors and use the leaf blower to blow the dust off of everything. I will need goggles and an N95 mask for that as it will be very dirty and dusty.

Mr Professional arrived and started to work on getting the lawn mower running, he had it fired up in no time and started in on the lawn. Mr I Need a Belt Bad went to the back garden to weed for the second time. All of the grass that he missed last week had gotten some rain, sun and some extra room to grow. It had taken off and he was able to knock it down one more time. I will mix a little Roundup now and keep it in a little one gallon hand pump sprayer. I used it every 1-2 weeks to knock down the grass instead of having to pull weeds all the time. Weeding sucks. While they did that I finished spray painting another three metal gates. If I waited much longer the rust was going to become much worse. Mr Professional fired up the weed eater and I knocked down an especially tall spot in the yard then proceeded to weed eat the berry garden. Once we had it down, we went around to each plant and pulled out the weeds by hand to create a weed free zone around each berry bush. I may even plant some blueberries as well as the berry garden is doing. I am going to bring over our large water trough and get it set up for strawberries. This will keep them from spreading all over the place. We do have a mole out there and I am going to have to set a trap. We tried to find the entrance hole but couldn’t find it. So all of the mounds got spread out so I can decide wear to set the trap.

Mr Professional and I set up my Christmas present and I now have two targets mounted on the hillside at 100 yards. Now to see if the sheep will leave them alone. I was able to use the rangefinder to figure out how far objects on the hillside were, 150-200 yards. The side by side had a flat front tire so we took it off and I will get it fixed this week. The tractor is the key piece of equipment that is missing. As soon as it comes the sickle bar mower needs to get attached and fired up to do a job.

More gardens

I have been getting help on the farm from Mr Experience.  We are trying to get the fields ready and planted for spring barley and its getting late.  I am not sure if we are going to make it but we only have about one week left or it will never fly.  I spent Thursday working on the bathroom a little and playing catch up.

We made a trade last fall some electric netting fence for some fruit, flower and herb starts.  Well the fence was handed out in the fall and I kinda knew the starts were coming but had managed to delay them a couple of weeks.  They showed up Friday morning.  I had already started on the area, got different help to rough in the fence and posts and I had raked the entire area by hand to make it very pretty!  Now I had a bunch of plants that needed to go in the ground.  This is a blessing and a curse, as I only have a couple of days to get them all in the ground.  One cannot simply just start digging holes as there are a bunch of berry plants and other various edibles.  So I made measurements and Annmarie and I kinda laid it out.  I painted marks on the ground and started digging.  I spent all day Friday and managed to get the cane raspberries, blackberries, bush raspberries, clove currants, and Nanking cherries planted and watered in the orchard garden.  We planned for 40 feet of blackberries and raspberries but only planted 10 feet of blackberries and 15 feet of raspberries.  We plotted out the Lavender area in the orchard garden and have 80 of those plants to pickup soon.  I ordered plant cover cloth, drip system parts and 28 cubic feet of colored rubber recycled tire chips and those should be here the first week of May.  Once I have all the supplies here we will lay it all out and start cutting holes for the plants.  The garden fence priority is moving up the work list quickly.  I just kicked all the animals out of th orchard so no one would eat our new plants.

I had just enough time in the rain to go over to the rock garden and kill all the thistles and stinging nettle before dark.  I was tired and needed a shower, I have gotten so used to the stinging nettle it does not bother me much anymore.  We still had 4 acres to disk in the upper field but it had rained and I was afraid that the little tractor would not be handle the moisture. So I called and borrowed a tractor from a friend.
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The plants perked right up with some soil and a lot of water!  Always nice to see them come back after getting stressed in the move.

This plan went together pretty smoothly on paper.  Annmarie is going to plot them out on the computer so we can remember all the different plant names.  There is no way I am going to remember them without some type of reminder.

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Saturday morning she tried to draft out the plan on a computer and my measurements were not quite up to the mark.  I did some ball parking on the numbers and that made the electronic version a lot harder to put together.  I vowed to do better with the rock garden and brought a couple of pieces of paper out with me to jam into my pocket and ensure I measured everything.  Did I mention that it started to rain?  The soil on one half is mostly clay and I had to hand water everything from the spring?  It was not very pleasant getting everything into the ground.  This time I planted six Seaberry trees with two more male trees, three more clove currant bushes, two autumn olives, two Josta berry bushes, a honeysuckle plant two Artemis, two Agastache purple haze, four sunflower (perennial), five echinacea, a five foot section of Iris tubers and a few odds and ends that I did not write down but did plant in amongst the rocks and down by the water.   I took lots of measurements this time!!  It still did not quite work out on the computer as expected. But it’s close enough!!

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Once Annmarie gets the plans all spiffy and neat on the computer I will post that.  I have some wild flower seed I need to spread out amongst the rocks also but I need to get the sprinkler working first before I plant them.