March Challange 4th- I love my draft cow!

The weather is better today but I needed to do more hauling and the drifts are wicked to say the least, I had let Girl out to feed at the big hay feeder and then looked at her, and thought.. hmm, went an grabbed some of her basic gear and had her help me haul the sled up and down six times from the front yard to the barn, and then had her help me haul about two hundred pds of hay down to the barn and then roped the big 900 pd hay bale, and got her to help me flip it..  I am so proud of her, I wanted to help rock it, and so she was in a Woo and Stand.. and then pulled by VOICE command..what a good girl.. I certainly would not trust her outside a fenced yard to listen, as I know just how often I have to still correct a Wooo/Stand these days but she was already in “work mode” all total we went for more then 40 min, she got a bush down and a grain at the end.. I got less of a upper body workout but the legs are just a burning. She walks faster then I do.. I can’t wait for a proper stone boat this year, so I can either ride it or have it slower her down a bit.. Sorry folks, no photos from today, so I put up one from this fall when she was hauling hay, wow, I was just looking at her baby photos, she is getting so big!

Breakfast-Yogurt, strawberries/rhubarb, walnuts

Lunch- Hard boiled Eggs, and canned pears

Supper- Lamb Stew meat, onion, mashed potato’s with greens

Snack- Cinnamon Sugar Popcorn

Extra: Coffee, Herb Tea, Water,  Pickled Eggs(in the leftover Beet Pickle juice) Hard boiled a pot of eggs, harvested some greens, planted some seeds, and transplanted some onions into bigger single pots.

Given that I am talking about the cow today, I am going to stay on that topic.. and it leads me to… Plowing, and or turning the soil in your gardens..

Now I have read many books on the different schools of thought, till, no till, layer, make a raised bed, hugelkultur and the lists goes on.. I am not going to say which is right or not, I think each one has good points and each one has flaws to a point, so instead, I am just going to tell you what I do..

When I break ground, , I follow the trench digging method, this gives a dig down of about 12 to 16 inches overall, I never go deeper then that, I put good 3 to 4 inches of well done compost and then we dig and flip it, that puts the soil and compost at the bottom with the soil on top.. we try to do this in the fall, allowing the winter to heave and break the soil more for us and to provide snow cover.. if there is lack of cover, I will spread out a layer of straw, leaves or bedding with sheep manure on top..

In the spring, we tend to lightly chop and dig it in over the first four to six inches an then level it and cover crop it, some area’s are planted for the first year to loosen the soil, example growing burdock, stinging nettle, potato’s typically.. Once they are pulled out and dug out, it gets leveled down again, green cropped and or bedded down with cover.

I try hard to not have very much bare soil in the garden, it looks like a jungle and most folks who look at it think I have not weeded at all.. but the truth is I weed out any plants that I don’t eat, but I allow many “weeds” to grow that are used in the kitchen, and I love stepping on mints in the walkways, the smell is heavenly, the extra flowers being in the bee’s etc.

I admire photos of those folks that have neat, and pretty gardens that I remember from my youth, my gardens today produce thousands of pds of food each year but they are not pretty or orderly!

I use my chickens for light tilling and bug control, I use my ducks in the garden at certain times of the year for slug control as well as bug, the ducks don’t like the greens or make near as much of a mess of eating things I want for me, as the chickens do..

However the other thing we have added in for animal power over the years is piggy plows, they are allowed to dig up the deep packed bedding so that its light and fluffy stuff, it lets them express their desire to plow and dig, it allows us to have to work half as hard in the pens to move them around, and added bonus, it allows the compost to work even faster..

Angelo says, I might not think sqaush and onions peels and chicken shells are real food but I love to dig up the pen, mom’s got me working away in one of the birthing pens now that all the lambing for the year is done..  (Note, someone feels comfortable enough to look me in the eye now!)

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4 Responses to March Challange 4th- I love my draft cow!

  1. Deb Weyrich-Cody says:

    Oh, he’s SO cute – and looking very happy! (Glad to hear about his boost in self confidence too: )

    • He is getting so much better, I still feel bad about the fact that he has such cut up ears, I have done a fair amount of research and I really think it was about not having enough space at the feeding area’s at the place he was born and raised at that were part of the issue, O well, he has lots of room now and I’m proud of him for getting so much more confidence in his routine.

  2. I always thought that gardens were supposed to look pretty. Now that I know L, and have tramped around in her garden – well, this year, I’m going to TSC and pick myself up a pair of rubber boots for helping her. It’s not neat and tidy at all! Like yours, it looks like a jungle. LOL But oh, such wonderful stuff comes out of it.

    I love Angelo’s ears. 😀 And he looks so happily piggy.

    • I need a new pair of rubbers this year as well, but I want the half ones, just up past the ankle would be perfect, boy do I ever have a broken open sore blister on my one heel at the moment, went from my regular boots to big deep winter boots and they have done a number on my one heel, practise for double covering, wool socks and treatment.. For pain and keeping a wound clean, I still swear by plain old warm salt water.

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