The past month has been quite busy on the personal front, leaving the website postings a bit on the wayside. Hopefully things will calm down as autumn begins. But someone should tell the weather, because it has been in the upper 90s and even breaking 100s at times this past month! Combined with the lack of rain, and we’ve fallen into “Abnormally dry” status according to Drought Monitor. I suspect we’ll fall into “Moderate drought” if we do not get rain by mid-to-late September.
The immediate impact of this weather has been the poor germination of some fall plantings such as carrots and leafy greens (or outright failed to germinate in some instances). The soil is very hot and dry; but, this has also meant the warm-season plants can continue on for a bit longer such as the okra. The fall-planted corn is tasseling and the peanuts are finishing up, hopefully for a harvest by the end of the month.
The field has been holding on well with the dryness, native grasses are blooming and seeding out while other species such as ragweed have been blooming as well. The sheep have been getting cuttings of giant ragweed almost everyday due to the abundance of it. Ragweed is highly nutritious for livestock. When the heat reaches 95F, we bring the sheep into the barn for shade; and supplement the afternoon eating with ragweed. Below you can see Thor eating some giant ragweed. A few times a week at the moment we are also feeding them grain supplements to keep up protein and energy.
The shade and supplements are very helpful for Komuji, seen below. She’s heavily pregnant and expected to give birth this month. We aim to keep everyone’s health up too as not only is Komuji pregnant, but the other ewes have gone into heat. The pregnancies from these matings with the rams will mean babies being born in the coming January or February. Carrying a pregnancy can be more difficult during a drought in the winter, as what we expect will happen with La Nina. Grains are sometimes maligned or beloved depending on who you talk to. But for us, it is all about our sheep’s health. Sheep do best we believe on foraging and grazing grasses and forbs. But if the field needs rest itself and is suffering from drought, it won’t deliver the nutrients the sheep need. We treat the grain as a supplement for that reason and not the main course.
The two spring lambs have been growing well. The ewe lamb, Ame, has been claimed on deposit but the ram lamb, Megingjord has not at this moment. Both are foraging grasses well and are current on their CDT shots. They’re quite active, and even Ame now will call out with the other sheep when they see us coming to the barn. Like mother, like daughter! Hopefully the weather tapers off soon and cool autumn evenings come. Have a great month all!