October begins, a full month into fall! Things are slowing down, the days are getting shorter, the temperatures falling across the board. Even with that many things have been happening on farm. We received a little over 5 inches of rain in September, about twice the monthly average. It filled up the pond, letting the geese have a swim:
It’s done wonders for the field, the rains have helped start the cool-season grasses and encourage seeds on the warmer-season grasses to finish up. We have gone out and collected seeds here and there to spread out over the barren patches of dirt. With a couple more rains over winter, it’ll help give the field a strong start for next spring.
We still have 2 sheep for sale, but they’ll be going to auction soon due to the rising prices as the Christmas season approaches. I learned recently that Christmas is peak lamb demand, though with coronavirus, lockdowns, La Nina, I unfortunately can’t keep everyone over winter. We’ll be preparing for a possible drought (after getting into a mild drought this year). I’ll detail how we’re preparing for one in next week’s post.
The sheep have been enjoying the western third of the field; the grass growth there is strongest and suffered little over the drought summer:
We’ve prepped for the winter in calculating how much food and days to feed for the sheep. And we suspect that a couple are likely pregnant. They’ll be getting garden greens as they mature over the winter and I have set aside some radishes and turnips for them to munch on once it’s ready. They’ve never had either before, so it’ll be interesting to see if they’ll try it.
Another bonus from the rains was the mesquite-dominated acre, the ragweed has grown significantly and the sheep will be working through that slowly over the next few weeks:
We harvested our first-ever garden grown peanuts in September, it was quite a nice surprise in how much we were able to get from a small plot. The peanuts have been drying in the couple weeks since, the leaves given to the sheep. Peanut foliage is high in protein so it’s a nice way to supplement. We plan on growing more peanuts next year for fall protein supplementation and peanuts for ourselves.
Cabbages were the big winner of the rains, growing quite large as seen in the picture below. There’s Chinese cabbage and Osaka Shirona cabbage (lighter green one). Even with the cooler temperatures, okra is still producing and the sorghum that was cut has regrown and started seeding again. We’re testing winter barley and winter wheat growth this season, hopefully to get an idea of another type of grain we can produce on-site for the sheep in the future.
Happy fall to all and stay safe and well!