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going on around the farm...

posted Oct 8, 2011, 12:56 PM by Admin at Yacolt Mountain Farm and Nursery   [ updated Oct 29, 2011, 5:25 PM ]

     I can hardly believe it's fall already! I have so much on my mind  from the last few months of work. First, I will start with how the work is going with Lucy, our Suffolk Punch draft horse. This whole experience with farming with a horse has exceeded my expectations in so many ways.  Lester Courtney, who has been guiding us along with his knowledge of working with draft horses, first, had me build a sled for Lucy to pull. Meanwhile, I borrowed his and learned how to drive Lucy around our pasture etc. In the begining, Lucy would not stand still so I could hook up her to the sled. Lucy was just too anxious.  I am pretty sure her anxiousness was coming from  her not knowing what I wanted from her, her haven't been worked in awhile, and I was just begining (I was a little anxious). After I built my sled and gave Lester his back, it wasn't long and  Lester had brought over a disc to work the fields down.  It didn't take long for Lucy to get used to the disc and finally, she was standing still while I hooked her up. I was feeling confident that Lucy now knew what I wanted and all the anxiousness had subsided. I felt like we had hit a huge turning point...something had clicked.  It was amazing. Lucy and I were working together as a unit and it was awesome. I would give her a rest at one end of the field and after a while, without words (just the thought in my head), I could get Lucy 
to begin work again. I feel like I have learned so much about being patient.  I have found working with Lucy is nothing like working with a tractor. You can't just hop on a horse and work like hopping on a tractor and working. There is way more to working with a horse. You realize the amount of power it actually takes to work the fields. I love not having to use any diesel and not having to run down to the petro station to refuel.  I would not want to farm any other way, now. Farming with a horse makes sense in so many ways... sustainable energy(feed them from our land), use their manure for fertilizer, less compaction than a tractor, closer to the ground, quieter...I could go on and on. Though, I do realize that it is not for everyone.
 Lately, Lucy and I have been discing down the summer crops and preparing the soil for the winter cover crop.
     Recently, we aquired a new St. Croix(hair sheep) ram named Eligh for our 10 Dorper(hair sheep) ewes. I am excited about the cross in the future because the St. Croix are parasite and foot rot resistant. We expect to have  a parasite resistant cross that tastes great! To prepare for the spring lambs, I have been busy working on the big barn behind 
the house. I have enclosed the left side of the barn, installing a gutter, repairing the roof, making 9 individual jugs (lambing stalls) for the sheep to give birth in, 1 horse stall, a loft and eventually installing two new barn doors at both ends.
     I would also like to thank everyone for their support each week at the Battle Ground, Camas, and La Center Farmer's Markets! Everyone has been so supportive and it has been a pleasure to get to know everyone. The support that we have recieved gives us so much motivation for the future. We really look forward to seeing you again soon!