Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Of gardens and sheep

 Recently while studying different methods of making a small farm productive I came across several books by Joel Salatin.  His ready (slightly sarcastic) wit and willingness to work the land and animals in a symbiotic relationship kept me reaching for Salad Bar Beef and Folks, This Ain't Normal 
even after I'd read the principles and agreed with them.

In an attempt to apply his ideas to our farm we are feeding the sheep in our garden area this winter:  temporary wire fence around our garden space (which is in the yard), and a runway to the pasture.  They come and go as they please, but are fed in the garden space each day.  This encourages a buildup of straw stalks which will get tilled under in the spring, as well as enriching the soil with the manure.

 (The ewes think they are going to get something more to eat - that is why they are following the camera so closely!)

The plan for the moment is to feed them here until the first part of April, and then till the garden, let it sit for a month or so, and till it again.  The sheep have no problem with being in this space, but sometimes they forget how to get in for a minute, and stand on the outside of the yard looking in at the hay and sprouted grain.  Then panic kicks in  ("I won't get my share!") and they remember very quickly.  :)   It is a riot to watch.

Last year's lambs are nearly as big as their mothers now (see the white one in the middle?), and the wethers should go to the packing plant sometime next month.

On a different note, Lord willing I'll start work at a local museum later this week!  I've worked there before, several years ago, and I look forward to being there again.


I am not getting anything for recommending Salatin's books. 

No comments: