This is always an exciting time of year on a farm. After a long winter, plants are starting to wake up, traces of green can be seen popping up. And babies! Baby chicks, ducklings, keets and turkeys have found their way on the farm as well as new lambs.
We have been talking about getting sheep for awhile, and this spring seemed to be the right time. We have had goats on the farm for awhile and they have really helped with clearing overgrown brush and weeds, but now that is done it is time for pasture restoration. Pasture restoration is one of our main objectives with our flock of sheep so that we can suppress weed burden and finally get pasture grass back.
We will definitely keep you updated on how this is going. Like everything on the farm, I’m expecting a learning curve with this, but am looking forward to it!.
Things are coming along on Wozani Farm. This past weekend we got our first bed of lavender in the ground 4 rows of 12 to be exact, a solid 48 plants. Since before we moved to the farm, we had plans for lots and lots of lavender. For bees to be buzzing, and scents to be drifting. Besides being pretty to look at and lovely to smell — it has the potential to be a cash crop for the farm. Or so we’ve read.
With this first planting, we decided to go with Hidcote Lavender. Hidcote is a cultivar of English Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia) with deep violet blue blossoms and silvery foliage. This variety does well in Colorado, and winters well. Mature size averages around 2ft wide and 2ft tall.
Since this was an investment, And we’ve read if done well, these plants will last up to 15 years, we wanted to ensure that the soil was properly amended. Fortunately with lavender, they like bad soil. The only amending you typically need is to correct the pH. Lavender does well in soils with a pH between 6.5-7.5. So, Liz picked up a soil test kit and the pH was a perfect 7.0! — no amending was necessary. We used this one, the Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Test Kit for Soil pH, Nitrogen, Phosphorous and Potash https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0000DI845/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_9ul7CbA2SB2V7 we got ours from The good ol Home Depot.
The other thing that lavender hates is a wet clay soil. So as ours is sandy, we are hoping for amazingly great things, due to its great drainage potential.
When planting lavender, it is very important to plan for weed suppression. Lavender will grow really well in poor soils, but they don’t tolerate crowding from weeds well. So we laid out commercial grade woven landscape fabric as an initial barrier. A lot of farms burn circles to allow for their plants, however we did not have the tools for that, so we cut “X’s” After this we covered the bed with straw and straw matting as a mulch. We found the straw matting at the Tractor supply store for not much at all.
Hopefully, we will start seeing harvestable flowers from this bed in about 1-2 years! We will keep you updated.
I guess you could say we are official now. We now have a logo for Wozani Farm. It was almost as difficult as naming our kids…ok maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit. But it was a fun process and loved all the ideas that were presented to us.
We chose to use a platform that was recommended to us by another local business and we wanted to share our experience. We used Logo Tournament, an online platform that presents your project to graphic designers across the world. Basically, you submit a cash prize and a brief describing your business (or farm) as well as some sample logos that you like. Then they go to work and we ranked them with our favorites at the top.
It was difficult. We had almost 300 submissions — and we had to pick 1. We picked this logo, because we felt that it represented us and our farm the best.
Here are some of the contenders. Seriously good stuff! Wish we could choose them all.
Happy Mother’s Day weekend to all the moms out there! We celebrated the weekend at the farm. While Liz was out getting pampered and having her hair done, I surprised her and converted an old horse shed to a potting shed for her.
Now she finally has the space to lay out all her supplies in one place! She loves it and as already used it to start some seedlings for the Frederick Farmer’s Market.
If you read our earlier post about our first project, you know how much research we did in finding the best materials to keep our goats in their new pasture. We ended up going with the cattle panels — as they were sturdy, tall and essentially goat proof. Since the new fence has been installed, it has worked fantastically! No goats have managed to breach the fence — so they turned around and looked the other way…
For the next several weeks, the goats were content with their new found freedom. Approximately 2 acres of new pasture! All for them! But apparently the grass is always greener on the other side (ok, maybe it was literally greener, but that’s beside the point). Within a matter of two days, the goats escaped 7 times!
Drastic measures needed to be taken! Some quick brainstorming (i.e. Google how do I keep my goats from escaping?) led me to electric fencing. Many articles talked about electric fencing as the only way to deter goats, meaning it worked “most” of the time. So I made up my mind and decided this was what we needed. And as luck would have it, the previous owner must have asked Google the same question, because there was already wire run along the fence line with insulators already installed — all I needed to do was supply a power source.
Apparently, you can’t just hook up a car battery to the line — won’t work. I learned this the hard way, I was desperate. I had just dragged Big Nina, our large Lamancha back over for what seemed like the hundredth time, and she become more stubborn and obstinate with every escape. Let me tell you that trying to move a 200 pound goat that doesn’t want to go is no easy feat. So yes, I tried the car battery — and was quickly disappointed. So, I forked over the money and went to the Tractor Supply Store and bought a Solar-powered Energizer by American Farm Works.
It was so easy to set up! The only catch was that you need to give it enough time to charge the battery via the sun. Big Nina, quickly learned that the grass wasn’t that much greener : )
It has been awhile since our last post, it’s been pretty crazy around the farm. There has been weddings and family visiting from South Africa. But the work on the farm hasn’t stopped — neither has the acquisition of new goats to the farm : )
If she isn’t careful, my beautiful wife Liz will soon be known as the goat lady. We have unintentionally become a local goat rescue. A lady called Liz about 2 weeks ago and asked her if we would be able to take in some goats that need a good home. This new bunch included two 3 week old “kids” so of course she said yes.
Fortunately I had finished the new fence for the back pasture and had moved the herd back there — much more room and much happier goats! They have settle in nicely and the kids are in love with the “kids”. : )
Previously, Liz explained the need for new fencing for our herd of goats. We have many plans for the back part of our farm, but we can’t do anything until the existing goat pen is moved. Not only is the current goat pen in our way, but the fences are so dilapidated that we have jerry rigged it with zip ties and chicken wire just to keep the goats at bay. So we have decided that this will be the first project of the spring for us.
The reason we got the goats to begin with was to act as a form of weed control in the back pasture, so our current plan is to build a new fence about 400 feet back from the current pen and have the fence span the entire width of the property, essentially fencing the goats into back part of the farm.
The next step that Liz and I need to decide is what type of fencing material do we use? We were wandering around the Tractor Supply Store yesterday (our new favorite store) and found 3 options:
In this order, the fencing price and quality go up. We were initially thinking that a standard welded wire fence would work fine, but have found out with our current fencing, that goats like to climb fences and those weld points break with their weight, so unless we wanted to replace this fence again in a a year or two, this option is out.
Our next option is a woven wire, which like it sounds, is not welded but woven. This type of fencing can withstand the weight of the goats, but will still bend and sag under their weight. It will last, but will sag and bend with time.
The last option, and the one Liz and I are leaning towards is panel fencing. We were talking to someone at the Tractor Supply Store, and she recommended these. She said that she has been using the panel fencing for her goats for several years, and they still look like they were installed yesterday. Another benefit to these panels are their durability – goats can climb all over them and they hold their shape. Plus, since this fence is place keeper until we are ready to expand farther back – we can detach these panels and use them again.
If any one else has any ideas or can share from their personal experiences with containing goats — Liz and I would love your feedback. Just leave a comment below. We will continue to keep everyone updated on the progress as we move forward!