The middle of the summer does not have the urgency of lambing season or the cold edge of winter watering and feeding. With the rains of the last few weeks, I am not forced to create a sacrifice paddock and feed hay, while waiting for the pasture to recover. Since Penny did not calve I was able to combine the sheep flock and beef herd without incident. Murphy, our chocolate colored mini-donkey, seems to have settled into his role as guardian not bully. Rotating the animals though the pastures does not take too much time. Pounding fenceposts nearby gives me the opportunity to observe my stock.
Our land is perched on hard shale so pounding fence posts can be debilitating. To make rotating the animals easier, we have decided to purchase the extra posts and keep them in the ground for the whole season, moving the polywire when necessary. Having the temporary fences in place will help us decide where the permanent fencing will eventually be located.
When not gardening and preserving, I scrub buckets and troughs, check for parasites and trim sheep feet, put fertile eggs under broodies and move pens and paddocks.
Last night I woke to the bellows of the cows in the orchard. Grabbing the lantern I walked out and discovered that Harper had escaped to the first paddock, beyond the reach of the cows in the second paddock. A short walk to the bottom of the barn to turn off the electric fence, walk to the orchard to remove the paddock line, and then the dance of trying to herd Harper to her waiting herd. Fortunately the older cows came to my call at the paddock opening to draw Harper to them. Once the Murphy and the fence line were back in place, I turned on the electric and headed back to bed. A benefit of these occasionaly late night field visits is a chance to see how beautiful the night sky is.