From This To This…

From this…..

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to this…

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in ONLY (ha!) six years.  Granted, it’s not yet a big pasture of grass, but it’s grass and the sheep are eating it, so I’m going to go ahead and call it pasture. We hope to get more cleared and planted this year. Our drought status has just been changed from exceptional to moderate, which inspires me to get back to work on developing some grazing.  Our heavily wooded 20 acres includes a large percentage of mountain laurel (also known as lambkill), wild azaleas, and rhododendron – all quite toxic to sheep, which takes away the option of fencing the woods and letting the sheep clear it.  We’re currently waiting our turn with the excavator guy to come.

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RubyBelle knows she is old (14!), but didn’t realize she’d died and gone to heaven!

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I started planting forage chicory and I like the way it’s done. The sheep like the way it tastes 🙂 Chicory is one of my successes. I’m thinking of putting in some forage plantain. Because most of our acreage is difficult to get to with machines, even though we have a four wheel drive tractor, much of our pasture establishment and maintenance is done the old fashioned way – walk and toss. My soil test came back that I need 1.25 tons of lime per acre – no wonder my shoulder hurts! 400 lbs down and 2100 to go (and that’s the back piece – the front piece is accessible). I started researching wildlife mixes, taking note of what grew on the side of the road, and seeing what was still growing during our 5 year drought.  This year’s rainfall has been wonderful.

If chicory was a success, my instructions to the bulldozer operator that cleared the last piece for us were definitely not geared for success. It’s a fairly steep piece of land. I didn’t want to leave the stumps and I wanted him to bury the brush.  Which he did. I didn’t realize just how much erosion leaving the tree roots/stumps in would have controled and I didn’t realize that what he would use to bury the brush would be……the top soil (duh!) The soil sample also recommends 1500 pounds of compost per acre – ouch!

From this…

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almost completed Jane rug – but her fleece didn’t stretch as far as I’d hoped and the rug is turning out to be an awkward balance of dimensions.

to this:

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and a pile of unwoven fleece – in somewhat less than six years, but not particularly speedy. Lady Jane is special and she deserves a special weaving. I’ll cut warp threads to make it narrower and longer. I’ll be happier with a weaving that “looks right”, so it’s worth it.

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About patchworkfibers

Registered Jacob Sheep
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5 Responses to From This To This…

  1. dustin cecil says:

    Linda. Our wild pastures in KY are covered in wild 6ft tall chicory. the sheep (including oreo) have absolutely loved it. They’ve cleared in to the ground in one season. I’ve also heard it’s supposed to help with parasite control. Seems to pull a lot of minerals to the surface too. the grass coming in at the base is much more green than in other parts of the field. We’re also seeding down hilside “droughty” pastures with lespedeza. It’s supposed to deal well with drought, and help improve soil quality. Also it’s a legume. so the sheep are supposed to go gaa-gaa over it. your animals are looking beautiful. can’t wait for next years lambs already…

  2. Christy O says:

    The pasture is looking nice. I’ll also have to research chicory. We have good grass but it is all just one type I think.

  3. Wrensong Farm says:

    I’m going to have to read up more on Chicory! That rug was beautiful, but I also understand about it needing to be “just right”. Especially when the fleece is special.

  4. How exciting to see your sheep grazing! I haven’t seen Abraham’s nose in a few days – he is diggin’ the grass 😉

    How sad to have to rip all of your work out but I can understand. You have to be happy when you look at it!

  5. Learning that it is way easier to rip back or unknit than look at something and not be happy with it forever, was probably my best lesson. I totally am with you on this one. The rug will be beautiful!

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