In addition to the fencing for the new grazing paddocks we have to install water troughs. The labor intensive way to water cattle is to drag a hose from place to place and fill up the trough. We have done plenty of that. This time Rick and Alex wanted to put in the labor and time up front to make it more efficient in the long run.
So they trenched two very long water lines across both sections of the paddocks and installed water lines. Then they stubbed up a line at each water trough and installed a float which refills the trough automatically as the cattle drink the water down.
It s a lot less time-consuming for us – after the system is all set up – and better for the cattle too as they always have a supply of fresh water.
And then they were back to fencing. Alex is driving T posts.
When all the brace posts have been cemented in and the T posts driven in and the clips installed, it is time to pull the wire. This wire spool holder keeps the spool in place as they pull the wire down the fence line. You can see the cattle waiting impatiently in the paddock they are ready to move off of behind the spool – but no pressure.
Way down at the end of the fence line you can just barely see Karla. She and Larry are the previous owners of the property that is now American Alps Ranch and they were here for a visit. They graciously helped us that day building fence. Karla took the hedge trimmers and did away with a lot of blackberry vines that were creeping into the new pasture. Sorry I didn’t get a better picture of you Karla!
Meanwhile Larry and Alex were putting together the pieces of the wire gate.
The fresh grass in the new paddock.
The fence is complete, the water trough is set and it is time to move the cattle onto the new pasture.
The cattle are watching Larry unhook the wire gate.
And then they are off to the new pasture.
Out of the old . . . .
. . . and into the new gate . . .
. . . and onto the fresh grass.
Larry closes the gate behind them and we are done – with this paddock anyway.
Back in April we leased an additional 80 acres of new pasture, just across the river from our place. It has been neglected and overgrown and the fencing was not in good shape, but it has lots of potential. So, the long process of turning this old homestead into great pasture for our cattle began. Rick started by dragging the first 30 acres.
Dragging the harrow over the field breaks up any manure clumps, loosens the compacted grasses and soil, reduces weeds and encourages new grass growth.
He dragged the whole field – which has a lovely view of the snow-capped mountains to the north – then applied 1/2 ton per acre of granulated lime. Our soil is very acidic so adding lime to the soil brings the pH up. The spreader is the yellow funnel-shaped thing on the back of the tractor.
Next was trenching for the water and electric lines. They covered up the trenches before I got to take any pictures (they are working on a deadline and don’t stop for photo ops), but you can see the bare spots running through the field to each water trough.
After that came clearing the overgrown vegetation so they could build fences. Some of the overgrowth was so high you could barely see the tractor.
The trees in the fence line had to be trimmed up so they could work underneath.
There is an old fence in that grass somewhere. Around here if you don’t keep it trimmed it will soon be consumed by vegetation.
And then it was time to build fences. Lots and lots of fences. Which required many, many T posts – about 80 per paddock.
So Rick and Alex pulled strings to lay out the fence lines and started driving T posts.