Sheep and Pasture Restoration

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!.

Lavender

Lavender

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.

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day

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.

Project #1 – Fencing 2.0

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 : )