Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Lessons learned...

1. Goats are not grazers!
They are browsers. Meaning they will gladly trample over the most lush green pasture to get to half-spent weedy old hay. Or just about anything edible that takes human time & sweat to provide.

2. Bringing in your own hay by hand is nothing like mowing a lawn.

It's hot, sweaty & buggy but it's still fun in a masochistic way. The tools - scythe, rake, pitchfork, neighbors' hay fork and a tarp.

The scythe blade needs peening after 4 hours or so, and honing with a stone or file, after each 5-10 minutes of cutting.

Once the hay is cut, it needs to be fluffed and turned to dry, then stored someplace as dry as you can keep it.

Our hay was a bit past it's prime and had been rained on, but we needed to cut it so the next batch of grass can grow up. We figured the critters will either eat it or sleep on it.

NOTE: Click on any of these picture to make them larger.

3. Miniature horses are not livestock.
They are hothouse pets, with very special needs. Generally speaking, smaller chunkier equines will founder on lush grass or too much grain. This means their digestive system overloads, and for whatever reason it affects their feet most. The hoof wall gets inflamed and separates from the inner foot parts, causing great pain. Sometimes the horse can be saved, and live as a cripple, but mostly they have to be put down. We met some folks around the corner with the most adorable mini mom & baby for sale, but after talkingto them for a while, realized we need to be more prepared before we bring any home. We can't just turn them out to eat down our grass. In fact, the folks we met feed theirs a pelleted food, just like Mark the evil parrot gets. Not a low maintenance pet at all.

4. The animal most suited to turn our pasture into something useful, with the least amount of care, is a cow. Not that there aren't health care issues and training involved, but cows pretty much walk around and eat and make meat, milk and manure. So we're full on the Dexter quest for our milk cow, and researching the best meat cow too. Once we have the paddocks all fenced and in a rotational system, we can bring a pony in to eat where the cow/s have taken the grass down a bit. We'll still do some haying too, just not the whole place at once.

Homebrew Harvest Festival 2006

Any Coopers, friends of Coopers, and all interested folk in the area....We're trying to put together a little homebrew picnic this year, and thinking about Saturday, September 23rd. It's the 1st day of fall, which seems like a good day to enjoy the fruits of our brewing labors together. Email, call or post a comment here if this day works or doesn't. Once we get the details hashed out, we can get to brewing!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Heh! Septemberfest at Seven Trees!

If only I drank beer....

Your animals are still adorable, even if they *are* livestock.