How do you define ambitious. I think this project fits the bill. But, if we are going to grow we need more pasture.
One of our stated purposes is to give shelter to the homeless. To this end we have been building relationships with local animal control, and animal shelters. This last year we have had inquiries about our ability to help them out, or to take on a group of sheep. We were approached by a shelter to see if we could take in 14 sheep from a potential emergency surrender situation. We said, ‘sure we can’, fenced in a 50ft X 150ft quarantine area, and found a ton of grass hay. The need never materialized, but we were ready just in case.
The thing is, the shelters have to take in animals no matter what, even though they have a limited space for farm animals. This last year a local shelter had to move two pet pigs into the dog kennels because they were exceeding the limits of their farm animal enclosure. Even though it was temporary and necessary, it was not the best space for pigs. Thankfully, someone stepped forward and adopted them right away. That is one of the needs we were created to fulfill. We can give needy sheep a healthy and suitable home while taking the pressure off the shelters. The need to take on a large group of sheep will come about eventually, and we plan to be ready to give a home to those sheep in their time of need.
The picture above is of the new pasture we are developing. In the last post we wrote about the the water lines the owner of the property has installed. We need to grow, and turning this weedy bit of dirt into a functional pasture will fit the bill. The pink and blue lines are where we need to put the new fence. It calculates out to be sixty 16ft wire ranch panels plus a walk gate and a drive gate. As part of the agreement we are to water the horse chestnut tree. The owner is fond of it, and wants it to stay healthy. Because the seeds are toxic, we need eleven more panels to fence the tree off. We may eventually plant shade loving grass, and put a picnic table and benches under the tree.
When the neighbor gets his remaining stacker load of hay off the future pasture, we are going to place a demonstration section of the fence in the southwest corner.
We are going to repair, straighten and stretch the existing barbed wire fence. Our fence is going in about 2ft inside of the barbed wire fence. The intent is to plant a flowering margin between the fences. In the margin, we plan to include flowering plants that are grazeable, but do not stand up to grazing pressure like: echinacea, hollyhock, and fennel. These will naturally seed themselves into the pasture, but will not survive grazing. All the flowering plants we include will support native pollinators, and a healthy ecosystem in the pasture. We found that as the land in the existing pasture healed, voles and mice flourished, snakes followed, and last year a feral mother cat and her two kittens moved in. The cat and her kittens disappeared in October, but they were well fed and healthy over the late summer.
Just like the barbed wire fence, the new fence is going two feet inside the existing single cable fence, with a flowering margin between.
We are calling for volunteers to help design the margin and set it up. The planning is open to anybody, anywhere. We will be setting up a discussion group on our Discord server, or Facebook for planning, and as long as you have an internet connection, you can be a part of the process. It can be a great way to share your knowledge and learn new things. Just let us know if you are interested. You can let us know by messaging us through Facebook, or email us at email@example.com
If you feel brave enough to help build the fences, have we got a rewarding experience for you. We expect to be setting up fence building parties over a few Saturdays, or Sundays. The hours, days, and number of days will be up to the volunteers and how they feel. Honestly, I pounded 28 fence posts out there one evening. That was a bit of a workout, and more than I would ever want to do at one time. But as they say, many hands make light work. Even if you can not help build fence, you can sit in a lawn chair, make up fence ties, and cheer on the post pounders. Once again, Message us on Facebook, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.