Pasture Progress

Before and After!  A comparison of one day’s work on invasive Greater Celandine

I have to confess that I am a grass nerd.  Today, I was exuberant to see how perfectly my sheep ate and enjoyed the grass at their disposal.   Every blade appeared to be nipped only to the growth point, no further, allowing for optimal regrowth.  A field of vetch and clover had only unwanted mint left behind.
We bought this farm on June 30th, 2017.  In one year, we reclaimed rank overgrowth, cut back invading saplings, seeded new pasture onto denuded areas, and hauled out huge pieces of trash left by prior residents.  The fertility of the land has grown – sheep exposure plus added purchased manures have increased the carbon sequestration in the soil.  Our soil is darker, richer, and less inclined towards runoff than before.   With all of this effort towards improving the pasture, I admit we haven’t had a moment for the house interior.  Sure, our boxes are mostly unpacked, but we don’t have any plans for the unpainted pantry or removal of some of the tackier, ill-applied wallpapers we inherited.
Sheep Trails – they walk in lines to hide their numbers, I guess.

Left side is grazed, right side is about to be grazed.  The sheep leave the long seed stems but love the leafy undergrowth.

But we are happy, and the sheep are happy.  We are rotating pasture daily – each paddock is about a half acre.   As this is our second rotation around the farm, I am following the sheep’s grazing with the brush hog to knock down the larger weeds and suppress the parasites a bit (parasites like it moist- mowed grass gets dry in the sun.)
After reaching their nadirs nursing their lambs, our ewes are starting to pack a few pounds back on.  This afternoon, they lounged contently in the sun after a morning of serious munching on the fresh grass.  I’ve been busy worrying about the sad condition of one of the lambs that came from Ohio, wondering if I was doing anything right at all.  The main flock of girls reassured me that I was doing just fine indeed.
And yet, no one ate the mint.  Do sheep have a natural aversion to mint?

Published by cloverworks

A Vermont Sheep Farm and Homestead specializing Purebred, Registered Bluefaced Leicester and Border Leicester sheep, in fine yarn and pasture-raised lamb.

One thought on “Pasture Progress

  1. Mint can slow lactation so it’s possible your ewes are avoiding it on purpose. Great job fixing the land!!

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