Fall On Our Farm
As the days get shorter, we are always surprised that summer is over. With so many things left on the summer “to do list” we try to squeeze them in to the warmer fall days, while moving into the fall “to do list”, all before it gets dark outside.
We are still trying to finish the 2nd, or if very lucky the 3rd cut, haying on the farm before Columbus Day. Usually after that there just isn’t enough day light and heat to dry the hay before the dew comes on. What’s left on the fields we use for fall and winter grazing until the snow flies, each year this varies considerably.
Our lambs are still grazing lush hay fields, which begin to slowly lose their quality as fall progresses into winter. Our ewes are grazing our hilly pastures, eating a wonderful variety of vegetation, some of which has natural tannins to protect from parasites. We still use the electric netting and give them fresh grazing regularly.
We study the calendar, planning our spring lambing start date. We back track into the date the rams go in with the ewes for mating. Each ram’s chest is covered with marker paint unique to that ram, so each ewe mated is left with a mark. We record the date of each mating. After 21 days we switch the rams and if any of the ewes gets a different color mark we know that the 1st ram didn’t take. This helps us in the spring during lambing to know when they are due. Prior to mating we spend time making sure each ewe and ram is in good health and body condition.