Too Much of a Good Thing?

If you are going to grow grass fed beef, you need grass. 

Lots of grass actually. At the beginning of the growing season, this was taken in February I believe, the pasture is still pretty wet and recovering from winter.  We supplement the sparse grass with hay.

By April the grass has recovered nicely and we are rotating the cattle between the paddocks.  It only takes a few days in each area until it is grazed down and we move the cattle on to the next area.

Then the rains came down and the grass came up.  It came up so far it is now hard to see the cattle.

The bovines don’t really like eating the tall grasses; they much prefer the young, tender shoots and are very selective about finding them.  

Ideally the cattle would eat the grass down before it got this tall – but we don’t have enough cattle yet to keep up with pasture grasses in this very wet and productive year.

Considering the drought and heat much of the country is enduring this summer, having too much grass doesn’t seem like such a bad thing.

We are very thankful that our biggest problem is so much rain and fertile pasture that we have a lot of extra grass.

The Orchard

You may remember we fenced in a small orchard next to the garden.  We didn’t really do anything to it except dig holes for the fruit trees we planted.  We took out the rocks in the tree holes, amended the soil and planted trees. This Liberty apple is doing really well.

The grass growing in between the trees was not doing so well.

In hindsight  – why is hindsight always so much clearer – we should have dug out the rocks first.  It turns out even grass won’t grow very well in huge rocks.  So, to correct this situation, we are digging the rocks out now.  Thankfully, we have the use of our favorite neighbor’s Roger & Melanie’s tractor.

Even with the tractor however, digging and loading this many rocks is a lot of work.  We are also fortunate that our son Alex is staying with us for a while so we have some extra help.

After all the rocks, well at least most of the rocks, have been removed there were a lot of holes to fill in.  Karla, previous owner of AAR, says if we ever de-rocked the whole place our ground level would sink by a few feet.  I think I agree with her.

So Rick dumped loads of fill dirt and then there was a lot of shoveling, and raking to do.

Eventually it was all pretty smooth and we added our chicken compost that had aged over the winter and raked that in.

Rick seeded a mix of orchard grass and clover.

It took a few days, but now you can see the green sprouts pretty well.

And now our orchard is green – with no rocks showing!  We just need to replace three trees that didn’t survive and it will be done.

Wedding Road Trip

We’ve just returned from a very long road trip to California to attend a family wedding.  Our chauffeurs and ride are below – if you have to be cooped up in a car for 16 hours each way, this is a fun couple for the job.  And that little car was surprisingly comfortable.

We enjoyed visiting with family and friends and seeing everyone in their spiffy wedding duds.  Here is the best man in his “before” picture.

And here he is with his brother the groom at the wedding reception.  Don’t those boys clean up nice?

The bride was beautiful.  She and her new father-in-law enjoyed a laugh at the reception.

A good time was had by all – some a little more than others I think?

And now we are back at home on our little ranch safe and sound – and exhausted.  I don’t know why traveling makes me so tired, I didn’t drive or do anything besides sit.  But exhausted I am and now it is off to bed for me.

The 9th of July

Nick and Riah and their friends were here for a visit this weekend.

They brought fireworks.  You may think as I did that it is a little late to be setting off fireworks.

Apparently it is never too late for boys – of any age – and fire.

 Fireworks are even better.  And so we celebrated that historic day, July 9th.

The fireworks were beautiful no matter what day it was.