The cows are great at producing manure. I remembered to bring some home for some new beds we are going to put in this spring. I used to scoop a lot of horse manure growing up since we had 21 horses. I’m now scooping up after the cows. Some of it I’m palcing on the Swales and others in piles for composting in the spring. I think the asparagus is going to benefit as well. asparagus likes a soil food web with extra bacteria so the manure should help there.
I’m now giving the cows bales of hay out in the pasture in different areas each time so as the part they don’t eat is providing ground cover. I’m glad I heard Greg Judy recommend this. He said they unrolled all their hay at once. I’ve not been that brave but I did put four or five bales out this week.
As part of my friendship practice I fed the cows alfalfa from my hand and fed them some organic feed treat.
Transplanting apple trees grown from seeds. Since they have 4 or more real leaves they were transplanted to larger pots. To sprout apple seeds place the seeds in a plastic zip lock bag with a damp paper town and place them in the refrigerator for a couple of weeks or more. When you see the seeds sprouting you take them out and place them in pots and keep them moist. Bury the seeds a few millimeters under the soil.
The larger pots were placed in a larger container to control the extra water since they are still being kept indoors to keep them from freezing.
I remembered Geoff Lawton mentioning to provide a broody hen with food and water so as she could stay on top of the eggs. Snow Flake is a very broody hen but usually we don’t have any fertilized eggs. We acquired some from our neighbor so now we are ok encouraging her to sit on the eggs.
These cuttings were taken in the fall and placed in dirt from Regen Farms and kept indoors. Two of the 6 have some leaves growing. When transplanting them we noticed that they didn’t have any roots. Amazingly they have taken in enough water to grow. We scrapped them a bit to expose the cambium layer and cut the bottom dead part off then dipped them in root and grow rooting hormone in hopes they will grow some roots. They were also placed in a potting mixture soil instead of regular soil.
I believe pocket gophers ate at least 5 of the 2014 food forest trees. I was out spreading seeds for ground cover on the newer swale when I saw a tree laying down. I went over and realized it wasn’t broken but rather it had been eaten away from the roots.
I then walked down the line and was able to pull up more trees. I am hoping some of the trees will survive so I put rooting hormone on them and brought them home. Most likely they are dead but some had a few roots. I also took cuttings but most of them looked really dry already.
So what can I do to protect the trees from gophers? Use wite around them thatgoes at least three feet deep. And I’m wondering if deeper and something on the bottom would be best.
Either the daffodils or luck has kept the 2013 trees safe. I read that daffodils planted around the trees deter varmints as well as marigolds and onions. I picked up a pack of 100 onion bulbs and planted them around the other trees.
I built some stand that I hope attract the resident owl and some Hawks for the brief times they surface.
Poison can be applied to their active burrows.
I think something like voles may be enjoying the hugel swales so I’m going to keep an eye on them.
I think I will apply as many safe guards as possible and will order a hundred or more daffodils.
To note I didn’t see any damaged nitrogen trees which were every third tree in the row.
Also the asparagus patch looks ok even though there are signs of gopher activity in it. Do gophers eat asparagus? Looks like they haven’t so far.
The cows decided to go exploring last week. They were fine until I decided to come back and check the fence before leaving for the day. I must of surprised them because they took off like I was the big bad wolf trying to eat them. They jumped the electric fence, ran through a barbed wire fence and then when the one came back she ran about half a mile away. Through the gate I left open, DOH. After two hours of trying to get her back I have up since I was heading out of town.
When I came back my neighbor said the smaller heifer made her way to his pasture with his cows but he had not seen the other one. He suggested I head south and look since that is where his cows once went. I found her in a pasture to the south with two other cows. Then my neighbor helped me get her all the way back to his pasture. He was in his truck and after a few minutes I was on foot crossing the creek trying to convince her to head north. Finally with food to bribe her we got here to the his pasture with the other cows. The cows then started working on a pecking order.
The next day I had to take down some wire and tape to put up a temporary fence to get them back to Regen Farms. In the process I created a huge mess of wires. I will never take down fence again without a handheld reel to keep it contained.
After expanding the mob grazing area for the cows I continued emptying the bags of leaves that have been sitting there for over a year now. It is a lot more work to even pick the bags up since the brom grass has grown through them thus tying the to the ground. So I was very happy to find work in and under the bags. I did relocate some of the worms to the piles last year so they have been busy multiplying. Now that the cows are out there I’m going to be placing worms with the cow deposits as I saw a farmer doing in one of Bill Mollison’s videos. He thought the value of his land was in how many worms he had working in his soil.
Cows were excited for a new area. They ran back and forth once they crossed the old fence line. Then they jumped the fence and ran around for a while. I was happy they came back around and walked in rather than having me chase them. I also made a test hay holder since they are wasting a lot of hay on the ground in their shed.
A few days later the cows got out of the electric fence and the barb wire fence that surrounds the 20 acres. Lucky I found them when I drove up just after dusk. They followed me for a bit. Then I needed some food to get them the rest of the way back in. I wonder if a short in the electic fence near the water trough scared them enough to keep them from getting to the water andthus they felt it necessary to jump the fence. The electric fence and barbed wire fence are now fixed.
The orange PVC panel on the south side was replaced with a polycarbonate twin wall panel. The thought is this will all light in during the day to heat the ground. Also letting more light in which can help the chickens produce more eggs. After I seal the edges the panel should have a better R value than the PVC panel it replaced. I might cover the polycarbonate panel with the PVC panel in the summer time to help cool the coop.
I found the panels at homedepot. I was looking for a clear PVC panel when I found these. Not ever homedepot carries PVC or polycarbonate panels. I was told at the store that didn’t have them that they didn’t carry them because they were not approved for roofs in that area.
Speaking of eggs we are up to 7 eggs a day from the 9 chickens. They molted this past month and have come back strong. I think putting a heat lamp in the coop that comes on when the temperature approaches freezing is helping with they production. It is keeping them warm and providing some light.
And a view from the inside. Even thought it is dusk the panel is letting in good light.
A bear must have climbed this apple tree And broken quite a few branches. This tree hangs over the chicken area so I hope the bear isn’t planning on a chicken snack. This might be the same bear that destroyed the bee hive.