SageHill Ranch Journal

Ridgetop

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Sheep like a variety of pasture grasses. They will eat any green stuff (mostly) but really love broadleaf juicy plants like dandelion, etc. I plan to spread some of that pasture mix on my fenced 15 acres this winter.
 

Mini Horses

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Mine love the dandelions, plantains, etc. I have to save seed from some they miss to spread on other pastures...or it's gone!! Getting ready to rough some ground and toss seeds this week. 😁 I've still got grasses, so this will be in the winter saved side. I'll toss some purple top turnips in my garden area, they'll mature and be feed in Jan...the tops before then...chickens & goats love them. Fields will get the "seven top" variety that don't make much bulb, & woody ones, but rot after tops eaten, so good in soil. I have mangel beet seed to try those. My winter garden will be mainly fodder. 👍

I got enough bulk seed for globe turnips for 2 yrs, plus some items for spring planting, free shipping!
 
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Ridgetop

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I'll toss some purple top turnips in my garden area, they'll mature and be feed in Jan...the tops before then...chickens & goats love them. Fields will get the "seven top" variety that don't make much bulb, & woody ones, but rot after tops eaten, so good in soil.

I wonder if I could grow a bunch of those turnips in Yantis - also, some of those winter squash that Bay said her sheep loved. The garden is fenced on 3 sides with the 6' fence, so we only have to put up fencing on the short side. We left that unfenced since we can use our portable 5' corrals with wire on the bottom 24" to close that off and still allow tractor access. I wonder if I could just let the sheep into the garden area to eat what is left after most of the summer vegetables are picked. Or plant the turnips, and corn, etc. at the temp fenced end of the garden. Then when the corn is done, I could let the sheep into that end and just move the temp panels forward to protect the winter garden (if any). Or buy a weaner pig?
 

Mini Horses

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Ahhh, yes. Animals love gardens! My goats were very happy to eat all corn stalks before it developed corn😡. I was shocked at how much goats & chickens liked the actual turnips. Looked & found they were quite nutritional. Plus, stored right in the ground 😁. Tops are excellent.....a hundred yrs back, there weren't all these feed stores. You raised it! They love squash, pumpkins, banana squash (Bays treat)etc. Pumpkin seed worms them. Milo is super easy to grow for your birds, sunflowers for all. Even if you don't try to raise for the production of a crop farmer, everything helps. This is a "food plot" for animals. Hand cut the grains, let them eat the rest. My wheat & barley won't head because they'll graze it. Then heat kills it. I'll rough up a pasture in strips, toss seeds, rake over and wait. Yep, they'll be let into garden before spring till.

Check it out. We all have areas that can be enhanced, not totally changed, and it does help. You don't have to treat it all with kid gloves. Just control their time on it, like pasturing. 🤫 My pasture will still grow grass in spring.
 

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I wonder if I could grow a bunch of those turnips in Yantis - also, some of those winter squash that Bay said her sheep loved. The garden is fenced on 3 sides with the 6' fence, so we only have to put up fencing on the short side. We left that unfenced since we can use our portable 5' corrals with wire on the bottom 24" to close that off and still allow tractor access. I wonder if I could just let the sheep into the garden area to eat what is left after most of the summer vegetables are picked. Or plant the turnips, and corn, etc. at the temp fenced end of the garden. Then when the corn is done, I could let the sheep into that end and just move the temp panels forward to protect the winter garden (if any). Or buy a weaner pig?
Yes you can let the sheep in! By summer’s end, I had tall thick weeds. The sheep literally disappeared! I also raised a trio of pigs in the garden one winter. They helped with rooting it up and fertilizing it. But I had moon craters to level out. Best case scenario would be to run the sheep in first, then pigs, but not to leave the pigs in like I did. Rotate them back and or control with strips of hot wire.
 

SageHill

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Looks like I may be updating more often for awhile - time will tell. Mostly because I need to keep track of Zo's training and progress.

He's no Obi, but he is trying his bestest.
We all know how much I love Obi, and going out to graze with him. He and I are mind melded. I've learned more from him than he has from me I'm sure. But dogs don't last forever :( . Obi was 8 in March and he's starting to show that he is approaching "prime" like we are. So I need to get Zo out there and trained. There is no way that this ranch will run the way we do things without good dogs. Obi is on a work every other day schedule until he rebuilds stamina, which means Zo is now part of that, working on Obi's off days.
The hardest thing about taking Zo out is Obi. Yeah. Obi gets that let's go Ma, let's go, it's time to go to work look in his eyes, he nudges me, he bounces around. Aaaaaand - I open the door and say "Just Zo" --- the dogs are trained to go out the door when each of them is told (with 5 of them someone is bound to get hurt if the pack charges out all at once). So I say "Just Zo" and Obi has a hopeful look for me to call him as well, then I start to shut the door and the poor guy just deflates. It's sooo hard to see. On returning to the house he is in a deflated heap at the door. Ouch - he can play the woah is me card well.
I will eventually be working them together, but Zo needs a little more on the job training.
Working with Zo I have to remember that he:
knows a little,
has a lot of great instinct,
knows kinda what to do,
wants to please me, I swear he wants to be Obi (in so many ways),
and has a lot of youthful exuberance.
Today was a Zo day. I had him out the other day and we worked up top and he did ok. Today we did similar with a lot of work on "graze", "watch 'em graaaaze". In the beginning we take the sheep along the fence of the pasture to one of the pasture gates and out the gate. Gotta love the dog and especially the sheep who know the routine. Zo would work the rear and the side for a bit and then zoom between the fence and the sheep - not what I want, but going between a fence and the sheep is a skill that is needed other times in different situations. I can't get down on that - mostly because he's still learning everything - but I need to let him know that situation isn't the time to do it. If I haven't prevented it, once he's squished between the fence and the sheep is not the time to "correct" that behavior. If I did, that would be saying never go between the sheep and a fence - definitely not good. Once he's squish zooming though it's my fault, not his. Just be more ready ahead of time for the next opportunity.
Of course since that's the beginning of working it is also the time that energy levels are at their highest.
We did get the sheep to the gate - and while he did do the squish zooms he did work the sides, he did take his stops - check marks in the good dog column. And he had a smile on his face. "That was good right mom?"
Going out the gate - hold pressure while I open the gate - so hard to do, but he did it, encouraged with "stay" "gooood stay". Out the gate with the sheep and hold while I close the gate. Again, score another check mark in the good dog column -- "stay" while he is quivering with the just say the word let me gooooo. Good boy Zo you stayed.
Into the easiest of graze areas - just outside of the pasture, a nice strip of lush green, mostly wild mustard just popping up that the sheep are loving. Getting settled in the graze area took a little bit of work. Zo wanted to circle big - and .... you guessed it -- go between the sheep and the fence. This time not a squish between because there is a lot of room. He did. Several times. Once he got the idea with help from me -- "AAAA" or "Out of it", and he pretty much settled into staying on the ranch road and working back and forth and a little into the graze area on the ends. Good boy Zo. "Gaaaaaze, watch 'em graaaaze", and "Gooooood graaaaaze". Yeah I draw out those words long and slow - that keeps the calmness of the situation going.
A few times I needed to use a placement when the sheep were getting close to an end of the area or close to an avocado tree -- that was a 'Zo stay, walk IN walk up, stay, stay, walk up, stay' - wait for the sheep to change the direction they were grazing in, and then "Get out, get out of it" -- that was the hard part for him --- a few times he would zoom in around through the sheep, but he did get the idea. He's not perfect, he's no Obi - but he is trying, and trying hard to be good. By the end of the session he was doing it right all the time. He's learning.
We did some road work at the end - he needs to work the rear, the side and the front. Not easy. He does keep the sheep on the road, and on me (ouch). It needs work, we really need to do this in a more level spot - going back and forth on a hill (kinda steep) is not easy. To his credit the sheep all stayed together, there were times when it was pretty, and then times when it was rushed. Oh lordy, I so don't want to "surf" down the hill - I didn't - so we're good.
I know this was a long one - need to keep track of this process with Zo. I did find an old video of Obi working when he was young - that young Obi had a lot of Zo in him :)
I can't say that it's coming together, but I can say the pieces are on the table and the jigsaw is in progress.

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Good boy Zo - "Graze, watch 'em graaaaaze, goooood graaaaze"
 

Bruce

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Managed to get some weed whacking in (hours and hours) I'm guessing that maybe about half of the ranch is done.
Are you doing this with a hand held string trimmer??? Maybe you need some goats to eat the stuff the sheep don't like.

So what was a high producing grove
Did you ever find out why they destroyed that just to spend MANY tens of thousands of dollars to replace it with trees that won't be commercially productive for years?
 

Ridgetop

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That is great to know! Our garden area was already in place next to the house. It has welded pipe fencing on 2 sides. We added 6' fencing on 3 sides. It is a really large plot - maybe 75' wide x 130' long. I was going to put some semi dwarf fruit trees along the far side. The 6' fencing is perfect for pole beans, and other vining crops. I figure that is a lot of area for tomatoes, beans, beets, summer squash, along with a square of corn for DH and some watermelons. This is watermelon country. The original owner came back from WWII and supported his family farming watermelons for many years. I am no longer in the mood to can all summer long like I did when the kids were young. I grew big garden and canned for our family of 6 along with the Boutique pickle and jam business I had back then. For the pickles and jams I used to go to the warehouse every year and buy 12-ounce jars and lids by the 1000 case. Too much work for me now. I'll can and freeze some of the garden for us, but I hate waste so if I can feed the excess to the sheep, I will be happy to plant as much as possible. :) I love growing the stuff.
 

SageHill

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Are you doing this with a hand held string trimmer??? Maybe you need some goats to eat the stuff the sheep don't like.


Did you ever find out why they destroyed that just to spend MANY tens of thousands of dollars to replace it with trees that won't be commercially productive for years?
Yup a handheld trimmer -- with a nice comfy over the shoulder strap. We're still working on digging and cutting out all of the old irrigation risers from the time this was a grove. One for each tree in a grove. When the trees are gone, the risers are left. I want them dug down a ways and then cut. If they are left and snapped off with a brush hog, mower, whatever they become a problem with grazing - someone or some animal will step on that upright broken pvc and that would not be a pretty thing. It's a work in progress.
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Ah - yeah the grove they took out. No actual reason other than the rest of us thinking the new guy read something somewhere on the new variety (that has yet to be known by the public) can be planted closer together with possibly higher yields. I can see a test area, but not an entire grove being tried. Replaced with 8,000 saplings - that alone required digging and planting. Add weeks of taking it out, weeks of re-grading, and totally new irrigation $$$$$.
 

Mini Horses

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Tax deduction....he's got more $ than good sense, so establish new grove as write off. Maybe the grove is a partnership of multi people. 🤷 Rest of us would be out babying those old trees and adding new in sections 😂
 

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