Thursday, September 6, 2012

Leaves of green and the frugal (desperate) shepherd.

Vines of good intention still bear no fruit.

I can say that.  At the moment it's directed at politicians and those who so easily join their ill-informed chants and rants, (which I'm tempted to comment on, but I can only handle so much...) but it's not really judgmental, since I am just as guilty.  I have intended to blog several times, as things have been happening, but other things keep distracting me. I think I'm safe in blaming it on the heat.  Or because my brain is dehydrated. 

Although..... it did finally rain. We felt exceptionally blessed to get 1.3 in one damp Saturday.  Felt even better on Sunday  when we compared gauges with some neighbors, and found most got less.  And, even 10 days later, the thin layer of wet long gone, the effects are readily seen.  I'll get to that later.  First - a picture story of how a frugal shepherd deals with the drought.

Anything green here is getting hard to find. That includes feed for the sheep.  The creek patches have been picked clean, even the trees within 4 ft. of the ground. So we resorted to a trick from Brother Tim up at Camp Eat-a-lot-o-greens.  If the ewes can't reach the leaves on the trees, you reach for the chain saw. And the result-

                                       A truck load of greens.  Actually, 2 truck loads.  From where?

                          All those pesky volunteers in the fence line.  Been intending to cut them for years.

         So we hauled them into the lot, and decided while we were at it, we'd do a little taste test with the girls.  Tree branches( a variety of oak, elm, mulberry, and ash)  or corn. (very expensive corn, but they're worth it)

                                   And - they're off - looks like 50 -50 at first.....

                                  Or maybe not..... there's more coming for the corn....

                 And it's a clear choice.  Gold over green.  But the branches were stripped bare a  half  hour later.

As reported in a previous blog, the decision was made to cut the new grass to both remove the weeds and salvage as much hay as we could. We weren't sorry.

Weeks and a little rain later, I am amazed once more at the tenacity of grass. The mowing was almost painful for all of us, but short lived.  Within a few days, the field was showing green once more. New blades were cutting their way up through the tan stubble.
And the hay?  Well, there wasn't much. But the ewes are tearing through it.  Which led to the next problem.  There wasn't any to be found.

We called all the neighbors, but they had none. Some were concerned that they didn't have enough themselves. The price was going up almost daily.

So, in desperation, I went back to Craigs's list.
It wasn't pretty.  Obvious scams were going on. There was some hay out there, but the picking were slim. A couple promising leads, but it was already sold.
I started checking multiple site listings every couple hours. And after a few days of that, it wasn't much fun any more. Then, one last check for the night, and I found something - posted 30 minutes ago. It was late, but they got a call anyway. Arrangements were made to go look at it the next morning.  Finally, some better luck.

It wasn't exactly what we were hoping for, but it looked and smelled ok. And if delivered and affordable, the girls will just have to learn to like it. With a hefty check as deposit, we both have slept better since.

With a good start to the week, we hope the rain will fall along with the temperature by the weekend.  The 3.9 grand kids  will be here on Sunday.  Little feet will be trampling those tiny blades of green barely visible in the gray-brown lawn. Not worried about the grass though.

They say that stress of a dry spell makes the roots go deeper still.   Maybe that's what I've been feeling. My farm roots go deep alright.

Chance of showers tonight.  Hope some pass your way.