I don’t remember where I read it, but there’s this quote floating around out there that says “the farm is always bigger than the man.” Truer words were never spoken, friends. The list of stuff we have to get done before winter could fill up 2 notebooks–if you don’t believe me I have the proof sitting on our kitchen counter right this second. Oh yeah, and winter is pretty much, um, here.
The good news? Breeding season is progressing well. (Note to the uninitiated–the farm is lovely in the fall and we love visitors! Please chat with your kiddos about the birds and bees before coming out.)
The other good news? We have water.
We didn’t when the crew and I started out on Saturday afternoon. Never take simple things for granted.
Mr. Fix-It was busy doing immediate, tractor-related things like filling in the sinkhole that almost swallowed up one of our sheep the other day. (Not kidding! Mr. Fix-It was a total hero–there’s probably a post about it lurking around the corner…) The only tractor-related things I do usually start with “Mr. Fix-It, could you please…”
On a rotational grazing-based farm the good news (see there’s good news everywhere in this post) is that you don’t have to carry any food to the animals. They rotate around the field eating it for themselves. Much more efficient!
The bad news is that you have to figure out how to rotate water, mineral, and shelter around the field with them. Which equates to about, oh, 2,500 feet of water line, give or take, to reach the farthest edges of our main pasture. (It makes for an interesting 3 pages on the loooong term To-Do list.)
In the mean time, the the second hardest-workers on this farm (behind us, of course!) are the garden hoses. They run morning and evening–and noon in the summer–filling, rinsing, washing, sprinkling and spraying. Mostly the cheapy-cheap green and yellow stripy kind. (And by cheap I mean construction-wise, not necessarily price-wise.) We’ve got piles of them all along our fence line. I mean, who wants to drag around 2,500 feet of garden hose when you’re not at the farthest edges and you only need 300 feet? So we disconnect and reconnect and disconnect and reconnect and…you get the picture.
We’re far enough down the alley with rotating our chickens that we ran out of hose on Friday. So we decided to tackle the hose pile. “We” of course meaning I decided that this was as good a job as any to wear the kids out with. Since there’s no “I” in “Team,” I dangled some fruit snacks in front of my little Big Helpers and off we went. It made for an interesting couple hours (some of my little Big Helpers are more “little” than they are “big helper”).
Did you know that grass will actually grow up over a hose and in a couple years provide enough decent insulation to keep it the line from freezing without any other insulation or burial necessary in generally temperate areas like ours? That’s the theory, anyway. Ours hasn’t been there for a couple years (see the above mention of connecting/disconnecting/connecting…) but I can personally vouch for the fact that wire grass can effectively tie a knotted-up pile of cheap garden hose down in about 2.5 months.
I can also vouch for the fact that you don’t want to get splattered with the water that’s been sitting in that knotted-up pile of cheap garden hose for the last 2.5 months when you finally lose all patience and yank the thing out of grass. But he took it in stride.
My heart also stopped briefly when Speedracer cried “Oh no! There’s a baby pig in the water bucket!”
Especially since we don’t have any pigs.
Saturdays around here are just never boring!