We skipped our Spring update and went right to Summer this year. But just to bring you up to speed, spring was cool and wet until the tail end when we got some unseasonably hot and dry weather. The pasture took a while to wake up and grow due to the coolness, so by the time we let the cattle out to graze for the first time this spring, they were more than ready. For a few weeks they could see the grass but it wasn't tall enough (with plant health and best nutrtion in mind) or dry enough from mud season to allow them to graze it yet. During that time period, they still spent most of their day eating hay and lounging in their new shelter, but they'd also spend alot of time looking out longingly at the paddocks and loudly mooing anytime they saw us ... as if to say "Winter's been fun and all but we want fresh grass".
The bees survived the winter(big accomplishment as a new beekeeper of just 3 years) and in the garden, we expanded our aspargus beds, relocated some raised beds and planted several more rhubarb plants which we use to make wine. If all goes as planned our garden provides us food all year long. This year we still had onions, garlic, dried beans, hot sauces, basil pesto,dried hot peppers, herbs and teas at the start of the new growing season. After a slow start due to cool weather we're happy to report the garden has really caught up and is flourishing.
Summer began dry but has progressed to reasonable amounts of rain, just when we've needed it most. We've had some thunderstorms but none severe or damaging. There have been some hot and dry spells interspursed which have required extra watering of the garden and have caused some slowing of regrowth in the pasture but overall it's been a pretty average summer as far as weather goes.
We've just fenced out a new 2 acre portion of woods that we are working to develop into good grazing ground. In this new area we are working on leaving a few stands of softwood for shelter for cattle and wildlife, some dead standing trees for wildlife, releasing valueable trees and sugar maples so they can grow well and by doing selective cutting, we're getting more sunlight to the forest floor...a requirment to grow the grasses and legumes we will be over seeding with. With the low productivity of this area we are reliant on inputs from the cattle's manure and waste hay to really wake up the microbial action in the soil. Even during the growing season, we are feeding out bales of hay when the herd is in this new paddock. There is browse available for grazing but not enough right now on its own to last more than a couple days so we offer hay as well and the added benefit is any waste hay will act as a perfect place for new seedings to take hold. They love grazing the succulent new sprouts that cut stumps send up, which keeps the area from turning into a shrubby overgrowth. As we've mentioned in previous updates, creating better and more grazing ground is our priority and absolutely necessary if we wish to grow the herd.
We are currently all sold out for our Fall 2020 quarters and halves of beef but we are taking reservations for quarters and halves to be ready in Winter of 2021. We will have lean 90/10 ground available within the next month or two until we sell out. Email us at NbarAranch@gmail.com for more info or to reserve.