Thursday, November 3, 2011

Overly-lively Livestock

You can't really complain about  November days that are over 50 degrees..but I still will. Not about the lovely sunny temps - I greatly appreciate the extra time to prepare for winter - but it is SO dry.  We haven't had any rain in over a month and there is no grass left in the pastures. Zilch. The cows are  devouring 2+ bales of hay a day and  complaining that they are bored, there is nothing to graze. It is going to be an expensive hay year.

Yesterday, I moved the cows to the front yard while I leaf-swept the back yard, so I could leave the pasture gate open and not have to dismount from the mower to unload my leaves in the big compost pile or maneuver around curious cows. But on about the tenth trip, I realized the cows had knocked the electric fence down and were romping on the front lawn. I finally got everyone back in except for LaFonda, who insisted on grazing the only patch of green grass on the farm, in front of the Granary. I couldn't really blame her, so I tethered her in the yard for a while and she was pretty happy.
I was happy too, until she made her way into my flower garden. But I guess those perennials were due to be cut back.
Ordinarily, Nutmeg and Cocoa patrol the farm boundaries morning and night to keep the rabbits and squirrels away. They sometimes chase one but never catch any. Often, a rabbit runs right past me while the dogs are off sniffing in the other direction.
However, they have caught three rabbits in the past three days!  Maybe there is a bunny population explosion, or perhaps they are having better luck because there is so little vegetation now to hide the rabbits. I have been worrying about rabbits discovering my warm, bountiful high tunnel greenhouse, settling in for the winter and feasting on my crops, so I kind of don't mind that the dogs are having such good hunting success.


Sinz of my SmithGang said...

LaFonda seems to be the sweetest cow.I've never had a cow and look forward to next summer getting one did you get her as a baby,to be able to lead her like that? Love your farm so much! Inspiring beyond believe:)

Susan said...

Hi Sinz,
We got Lafonda when she a was maybe 3 years old. We found her on Craigslist (where we have found most of our farm animals and gear!). That family had purchased her at a cattle auction, but they have horses and knew a bit about selecting livestock. They had trained her to hand-milk, but were adopting two more children and felt too overwhelmed for a milk cow. LaFonda has a mellow nature and is quite food-motivated, so if I have a couple of cow cookies in my hand she will follow me anywhere.

katiegirl said...

Ooh, naughty Lafonda eating the flowers! She's too funny. I think the dogs are doing a great job earning their keep!