Tuesday, April 25, 2017

My You Have Changed Ellie

 Ellie is loads of help or thinks she is. Kirk was putting up some more fence panels yesterday to block the beef from the pasture so that it could grow without  munching mouths tearing it up. When the grass is short, animals have a tendency to crop the vegetation too short. The plant's crowns die leaving us with dirt. Add hooves on wet ground and what was a little tilling in summer turns to over tilling in spring. Their hooves simply tear up the ground leaving a dead muddy field.  Bye, bye pasture.

Hubby got the job done just in time as this is what today looks like. Not quite this much snow was in the forecast but snow was inevitable. Old Man Winter has to get his last big {Hoorah! for the end of April. Each year there is a BIG snowstorm the last week or two. Well, almost. I can think of a few naps he took over the years but very few. 

This end of April storm brought over eighteen inches of snow with howling winds that closed even the county roads. Ten to seventeen more inches of the white stuff is due in the next few days. Old Man Winter obviously wants winter back.

But enough already. I'm want spring. Again, a picture from yesterday.Weather is cruel and has left me depressed today but thankful we pushed this past weekend to get things done. Old Man Winter is about as reliable as Old Faithful so we know by now to 'getter done' as we say up north. Oh you don't know Old Faithful? I'm referring to the famous sight in Yellowstone Park or Jellystone as we call it from the Yogi Bear cartoon. It is just north of us a little ways.

Last summer we had the stock graze the pasture pretty short in order to clear out the old grass and weeds. It helped kill quite a few sagebrush too. A huge added bonus. This way it opens up the area to more light and clears off the old dead grass. The pasture is really looking pretty now. A little more sagebrush could die but we don't want all the sagebrush gone as on our steep slope, it helps to hold the soil and stops the snow creating a small drift behind each one. Mixing goats and cattle is a proven winner as they forage for differing plants balancing out your pastures.

We had a big shock when we moved here. Our old property was clay, clay, and well heavier clay. What a huge muddy mess that made when moisture came. Here our ground is rather rocky and sandy so an amazing amount of moisture seeps right down into the ground. We see very little mud. Could be why the area has lots of natural springs. We even have a geyser of our own. It goes glub, glub, glub. A little bubble that pops up under the crooked old tree. It makes laugh, I love it!
 But there was something else I wanted to show you. Look at the bovine on the left. That's Ellie, our Brown Swiss/ Normandy cross heifer and then look down below at the photo of her as a young calf. Talk about a color change. Yup, she's black as coal now. Not what I expected. I'm really liking the way she is turning out conformation wise and sweet, oh my! she loves nothing more than someone to pay attention to her. I can rub her all over and pick up her feet. She will even pick a foot up for you if you rub between her legs, cocking it out to the side so you can reach in better. Personality wise, she will make one dandy milk cow.
But what is up with this stark color change. I've never seen a bovine change so drastically have you?

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