Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Chopping Thistles And Other Fun Things...

The Upper Pasture has some regrowth on it, so it's time to rotate the sheepies back up there. All the rain has been a blessing for the pastures. I think this field will hold the sheep for at least three more weeks, so it looks like I might make it to September before I have to start feeding hay. Yeah!Whenever I've had the sheep off a field for 4 weeks or better, I always go through the pasture before turning them back on.

I check fences, and look for things like wild cherry that might poison them. I also take my chopping tool and whack down any thistles. Once in awhile, the thistles will get ahead of me, and one or two will make blooms. I try and dig them up by the roots, so they won't come back, but I know a few of them still survive. I'm not even sure what kind of thistles they are. They seem to bloom later than the musk thistles and have a much smaller seed head.
Mullein Gone to Seed

There are many weeds and the wild flowers abound. The sheep will eat many of these things and enjoy them, so I don't worry so much about the 'weeds taking over'. I do look for the dreaded 'beggar-lice', also called 'stick-tights', as they can trash a fleece pretty quick. I found a few bunches that I pulled up and disposed of. Evidently I didn't get them all, as I noticed several of the sheep had them around their neck tonight. Hopefully that will be it--as long as they don't get it into the body of the fleece it usually works out okay, although it isn't pretty to look at.

As usual I had plenty of 'help' as I inspected the pasture and chopped thistles. The dogs enjoyed sniffing about and checking out the field. Boone waded in the muddy pond (of course since he just got a bath!). I think I picked up a few chiggers, even though I sprayed before hand. At least with the weather moderated, even chopping thistles has a certain satisfaction and peacefulness to it.
Ariel all tuckered out after her field inspection.
(But look how clean and shiny she is!! :-)
Boone stops to smell the roses, um, wildflowers


Vicki Lane said...

Does any creature eat thistle plants? We have a plague of them up on our mountain -- too steep and too much acreage for chopping. I've wondered about a donkey or two . . .

The upside of thistles is the food they provide for the many goldfinches that live here.

And I love seeing Boone in the flowers!

Pat in TN said...

The average person doesn't even think about such jobs having to be done, and then they ask if we're not bored with our country life!! Yee gads ... LOL!

Yes, Boone amongst the wildflowers is quite a picture. It looks like he definitely enjoys life.