Aug. 2 2013
From the Farm

The oats I wrote about earlier this Spring produced 242 bushels out of 5 and a half acres, some 44 bushels an acre, and 10 large bales of straw. Recall that chemicals are not used in our farm so that the nitrogen that was left by the alfalfa I plowed under in February is what fertilized the crop. We will use it for energy for the sheep, a little a day for all, and more for the ewes getting ready to breed and again in the last 6 weeks of pregnancy. The straw is for snuggling and keeping out of the wet.

oats ready for harvest
Our wheat produced 35 bushels an acre from 7 acres, and our share was just enough to buy our neighbor’s share of the oats.

So, what to do with the oats? By means of an auger they go into our red wagon, and as you can see, our red wagon runneth over. All the better, say the geese who like nothing better, not even a grasshopper.

Do numbers really help?
Do I have any notion
of the number of oats
that go into production
of a fleece? Or pounds
of alfalfa? Some of
our sheep are not
interested in oats at
all but are very
serious about alfalfa,
so how would you correct for that? As I work my way through the wagon, I consider the appearance of our flock, and the weather, and the time of year, and the emptying of the wagon – as the saying has it, It’s the eye of the Master that fattens the cattle. Sheep too.

dumping oats in combine
We had to put down Angus, our senior dog: cancer. Flora was grief-stricken for several days, Tibbie, now almost a year, not grieving but respectful of Flora’s loss. Flora is not sure of Tibbie’s capabilities yet but they clearly are working out the division of responsibility. We won’t look for a new dog until next Spring when Tibbie, at eighteen months, is mature. We think he’ll be black and white and energetic, and willing to learn from his elders.

We grieve too, Elizabeth and I. I’m not sure all my readers are acquainted with the last verse of the song known as the Marine’s Hymn; it goes this way:

If the Army and the Navy ever look on Heaven’s scenes

They will find the streets are guarded by United States Marines.

Well, if the Army and the Navy are attentive, I think they will see – and hear – a large black and white Great Pyrenees over by the fence line, barking with authority to keep coyotes and any other marauders at bay.

© Jerry Wigglesworth, August 2013