This week has been a series of culminating events that have been gratifying, exciting and in one case - very, very sad.
The first ending this week was with the yearlings, our super calves who are growing at a prodigious rate, and finished the cycle through their pasture. It may not seem like a big deal, but for me it was something that I wasn't sure was going to work out.
The pasture in question was strip mined for coal in the 1980's and so I call it the Mine Ground Pasture (having used nearly all my imagination) in my notes. It is 53 acres (picture 53 soccer pitches) of hay ground I decided to utilize for fattening my yearlings instead of mowing for hay. Over the last 55 days I divided it into 44 paddocks and moved the yearlings nearly daily.
Today, they moved back into a paddock that they had already been in on March 22nd. March was the very beginning of the grazing season and they were there a day,
mowed through it and were virtually stamping with impatience to get more to eat. Today when they arrived, the clover, alfalfa and grass were mature and really ready for grazing.
The ideal rest between grazing for pasture is at least 45 days. I'm a little proud we are on track for maximum feed value and carbon sequestration, while encouraging plant diversity and soil health. It feels good and the calves like it too.
Hand in hand with that, the hay was ready to be harvested, a time of sleepless nights, worrying about when the next rain (a big spoiler) was going to arrive. After about 10 days of work with only one rain event, my baling guy and I put the last bales into the hoop building as storm clouds piled up on the horizon last night.
Also this week, we completed a path around the ponds, which required a lot of chainsaw work, brush cutting and finish mowing (most of which Jeff, my brother-in-law, did). The area around the pond is becoming a little oasis for swimming, kayaking, walking and fishing. I can't wait to see the process through to it's ultimate end, when we complete it with a dock and tiki bar. At that point, none of you reading this will have any excuse not to come to see it in person.
Finally, we had a very sore loss last night. Nito, one of our cats, had been gone for a couple of days and came home the day before yesterday. He looked terrible, wouldn't eat or drink and we could only comfort him by holding him in our laps. Yesterday, we took him to the vet, where they told us that his kidneys and liver were enlarged and that something was wrong with his lungs. They didn't know what the issue was, but offered cancer or a fungal infection as possibilities. After giving him fluids and steroids to try to get him going again, he passed away last night - he was only a year old and had been very healthy.
In retrospect, the day before he came back, our neighbor sprayed his corn with glyphosate to control weeds in his corn field. Now in Googling it, Nito had all the symptoms of a cat poisoned with glyphosate (Roundup). It seems likely that he was out in the field hunting and got doused with the chemical. It baffles me that in this day and age we are still having a debate about whether a chemical like glyphosate is dangerous.
We will miss him. RIP Nito.