SageHill Ranch Journal

SageHill

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The cooling off continues, I'm sure there will be another bout or two of hot, but it surely looks like we may have and early Fall. Typically, September here is the scorcher. So far, so good. Esp to the point that I've been out grazing a bit.
Got home from teaching detection and I went to feed the sheep lunch. They were out in the pasture - shocking, as they usually hang out in the corral. They've done a pretty good number on what was green there, and there isn't much left. With that in mind I figured since they weren't waiting at the barn for lunch, might as well take them out to graze the side of the drive. SOooooo - I did. And Obi was a star. I know, I know - I was going to use Zo the next time - but ----
I needed a little more precision with that area and there were workers doing things in the newly planted grove - wrapping trunks and checking irrigation and ???. Add in that if Zo got a little to rambunctious the lambs would not have a good experience and Zo more than likely would get friction blisters on his pads. So Obi it was.
He was amazing. Isn't he always?? Well, mostly always? We grazed up toward the house first and the flock did a better than admirable job of mowing down what was there! Shocking! While they did the lambs started their own leading edge of the graze and Obi calmly loped than trotted to head them off. Got to where he needed to be and held his position (this is all on his own, no words from me). The lambs turned around and started grazing back toward the rest of the flock. Another time one was up on a rock reaching into an oak. Obi went to the rock and stood on the rock (boulder). The lamb didn't move, kept reaching into the oak! Obi started nudging it with his nose and a little with his shoulder and poof, the lamb hopped down and walked to the rest of the flock. That was the ram lamb who would prefer to never go near me - yes, he sports the name "Camper" because well - ya' know he'll be going to camp. Amazed that he didn't bolt off the rock - he doesn't like Obi either.
So, basically I'm only looking at the sheep, where they are eating and the dog. I turned and looked at the newly planted grove and the workers were all sitting down lined up along the edge of a line of trees (seedlings? saplings?) and watching! So while they have provided "entertainment" planting, I guess we did the same grazing. Nothing exciting but something out of the ordinary.
IMG_0284.jpeg
 

SageHill

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Another week gone by, they seem to be slipping by quicker and quicker, and I'm still saying Fall is kicking Summer out the door without much of a fight. Cooler foggier days are outnumbering the hot sunny ones.
Managed to get some weed whacking in (hours and hours) I'm guessing that maybe about half of the ranch is done. The stuff that is getting whacked can be as tall or taller than me, and or thick and heavily "matted". All of which the sheep won't go through and I don't want the dog going through. Hidden rocks, semi-boulder and boulder size are not a good thing, and the squirrel holes and gopher holes not good as hidden elements either. Tough enough when they can be seen.
Based on somethings I've read from Nan Bray (Tasmania) I want to plant patches or swathes of things that are good for sheep. I figure that once I get different areas established it will make grazing even better and quite possibly healthier. I know that given the choice with the varied vegetation here the sheep pick and choose what they want/need. Until I came to that realization it bugged me to no end that I could "park them" in what looked like a perfect spot and they'd stand and stare at me. I called them picky. They, and the dog kept trying to tell me that's not what they needed. Live and learn. Chicory is on the list and I'm looking for other things as well.
That said - how picky they are ...... this week I had managed to get the hill weed whacked down to where the meadow is. The meadow - so pretty -- and so much the place that the sheep rarely want to graze. Because sheep like to graze going uphill Obi and I took them down to the bottom of the hill (it's a very long hill) and intended to graze the hill. Well, lo and behold the sheep decided the meadow was the place to be. With my new found knowledge that plants change their chemical compositions with seasonal conditions the lightbulb went on - this is definitely a way different seasonal condition right now. They grazed the meadow a long time before leaving to work uphill.
grazing in the meadow
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starting the uphill graze
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Smile and her mama ewe
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.



The big entertainment for the week --- the replanting of the avocado grove that was taken out this summer.
Took most of week for this side to be planted. It was quite the process, all done by hand, holes dug, trees put in, dirt backfilled, irrigated and then trunks wrapped. I think he was darned lucky there was the tropical storm a few weeks back to soften the ground, and then to have uncommonly Fall-like weather. DH was talking with one of the guys and they said ..... it was 8,000 trees they put in. Yeah, that.
So what was a high producing grove, then barren land, is now this.............(future avos).........
IMG_0372.jpeg

and that is only a tiny part of it.
While they were planting the weather one afternoon was cool enough to graze the side of the road that
was quickly becoming overgrown so we did a little trimming and the sheep did a good job too....
IMG_0284.jpeg

While we grazed I turned to see that the workers on the grove sat down to watch. 🙂
.

I've been saying that Obi is out of shape to be able to graze two days in a row (please don't tell him I said that), and that I need to start working with Zo. Today became that day - though on the walk over to the barn it started to rain (really?? rain in September???) and I almost said not today, but I put my big girl pants on and said Let's do it.
I have to remember that while Zo has talent, keenness and a desire please, he lacks the training that Obi had, even at that young age. The would'a should'a could'a comes back ten-fold - should've been training him in an arena so he at least knew what the words I use mean. He's going to end up an OTJ (on the job) trained dog. Not bad, but different. He is not Obi. With that said the boy did good, and I guess I did too because with him it is me that holds it together while at the same time training Zo and letting him know when he's doing well. We stayed up top in open areas and he tried hard to be good and was. There were times he'd just stop. I think he was trying to process all that was happening without getting into trouble. That desire to please trumping the desire to have too much fun. Good boy Zo.
IMG_0380.jpeg

Zo, learning to graze sheep and being a good boy.
The little wheels in his head turning, what did she say? what am I doing? why am I doing
this?
 
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Mini Horses

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Zo will do well -- he needs time on the job! 👍🤫💕


I want to plant patches or swathes of things that are good for sheep. I figure that once I get different areas established it will make grazing even better and quite possibly healthier. I know that given the choice with the varied vegetation here the sheep pick and choose what they want/need. Until I came to that realization it bugged me to no end that I could "park them" in what looked like a perfect spot and they'd stand and stare at me. I called them picky. They, and the dog kept trying to tell me that's not what they needed. Live and learn. Chicory is on the list and I'm looking for other things as well.

This is true! I have chicory but it isn't a winter plant. There are many that work in your hot/dry climate. I'm different territory but just ordered some things to add to what I already have -- for some winter green. I'll scatter along areas for goats to enjoy. It will help with some fresh green, various minerals, etc, beyond their winter hay & grains. I have a good amount of clover all over my fields and vetch, both provide extra protein. Try Deer Creek Seed -- they have a good amount of seed, and mixes, geared toward livestock. Mine is mainly overseeding right now. I'm really looking toward what I can manage to grow to help strengthen their forage, beyond grass/hay...longer into winter. Frost and freeze can change many plants into detrimental eats. 😖

I'm adding turnips, winter barley, oats, etc.

There's that "weather" problem again. 🙄
 

SageHill

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Can you work Obi and Zo together?

Maybe you could graze the new avocado grove someday.
I'm thinking of doing that. Obi actually has worked as a brace with one of my student's dogs. The other dog, Rocky, is trained, though not to the level Obi is, but definitely more than Zo. The first time we tried it I was blown away. Both dogs, intact males, working together - crossing paths, brushing shoulders, it was mind blowing for me. There was no "working it out together" they just did it. Rocky is a Belgian Tervuren.
Here's a few pics - not great as they are screen shots off of my phone videos. We are to the point now where we will be taking the flock out for a walk about and graze. We've had to wait because in the rough cover Rocky would be a grooming nightmare getting out the foxtails.
Obi-Rocky1.jpg

Obi-Rocky2.jpg

Obi-Rocky3.jpg


As for grazing in the avocado grove, avocados are not good for sheep, and add to it they would
pull the young lower branches off when they chomp on the leaves. Because out ranch was once an avocado grove that was 'let go' about 20 yrs ago we've got about 50 trees left, all unirrigated survivors that are scattered around. They are the reason that Obi has a 'command' of "tree" - and he'll find whatever tree any of the sheep are into and
will push them out and away from the tree back into grazing. They have done some snacking on the trees and no one has gotten sick. But we did take out the 3 avos that were in the pasture.
 

SageHill

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Zo will do well -- he needs time on the job! 👍🤫💕




This is true! I have chicory but it isn't a winter plant. There are many that work in your hot/dry climate. I'm different territory but just ordered some things to add to what I already have -- for some winter green. I'll scatter along areas for goats to enjoy. It will help with some fresh green, various minerals, etc, beyond their winter hay & grains. I have a good amount of clover all over my fields and vetch, both provide extra protein. Try Deer Creek Seed -- they have a good amount of seed, and mixes, geared toward livestock. Mine is mainly overseeding right now. I'm really looking toward what I can manage to grow to help strengthen their forage, beyond grass/hay...longer into winter. Frost and freeze can change many plants into detrimental eats. 😖

I'm adding turnips, winter barley, oats, etc.

There's that "weather" problem again. 🙄
HA! I was looking at Deer Creek!
While we are in the same country (and not different continents ;) ) our seasons are pretty much swapped. You're in the gearing down while we are gearing up. This year especially since we are now green and that usually doesn't happen until around November. So I'm thinking that now is a good time to scatter seeds. With the early fall they could have a good long time to get started. There is that 'light thing' that's the same though, but temps and water are similar to your spring. :) ..... the left coast is .... backwards ;):lol:
Love that we are doing the same thing. I'm such a newb at this end of it - but always learning!
 

Baymule

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I planted chicory in Lindale, the sheep loved it. Cool season grasses and forbs do well here. I have chickweed in a few places and I’ll be encouraging that. In Lindale, I had black eyed Susan’s wildflowers and the sheep loved them too. I’ve seen them in fields here, but not on my place. I’ll be digging some up to transplant and protect from the sheep! I always let the black eyed Susan’s grow in my garden, and along fence rows.

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For most of my life, being horse and cattle minded, I thought a field of Bermuda was the golden standard. I admired the beautiful grassy fields. Then I got sheep. A real eye opener, now I look at those grassy fields of Bermuda as boring monocultures of deficiency. My sheep are educating me.
 
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