Busy signal…

Newt at dusk. On what we had the tree trimmer guy leave of an old native willow that didn’t survive one of our many windstorms. The tree had a split trunk, and one half went down in a storm last year. It made a soft landing on the neighbor’s apple tree, and was cut up for firewood with no ill effects. We figured the remaining half would come down on the new shed sooner or later, so we called Precision Crane to take it out. They also drastically trimmed our ancient apple tree that looked to have been neglected since the stone age, and trimmed back a fir tree that hung over the driveway. He brought his dad as an assistant, and a huge crane with a lift platform. It was fun to watch everyone do a double take at the goings on that day. Jeff, the tree guy, was us on the lift with a chainsaw, trimming trees, and his dad was on the ground with another saw, making smaller bits. We stacked all the salvageable wood and piled the rest to burn. We saved the apple wood in hopes of having meat to smoke with it later (we’re researching heritage pig breeds now). The apple tree set leaves a plenty, and a fair amount of blossoms, but the blossoms didn’t take. Hopefully the tree is just catching up from it’s drastic trim and will set fruit next year. Either way, the tree was in such bad shape we had to risk it. Kind of a bummer that we’ll have to buy apples or use the neighbor’s to make cider this fall, but our baby fruit trees will be ready to go soon.

Tomorrow is barn siding day. we brought home 4 x 8 sheets of heavy T1-11 siding on the top of Pearl, the 99 Outback farm wagon. That car has hauled everything from 12 foot lumber to goats to horse manure to hay. What a trooper!

We’re also experimenting with mowing the front paddock with a grass scythe. Amazingly satisfying and hopefully a source of loose hay for the critters. We’ll post more on scything later, but it’s just really cool to be out mowing like our ancestors, no noisy engines, no chemicals, just a blade and some lovely hay for the goaties. We’re also learning a lot about making hay without modern technology, all the way from what seed to plant to how to make haystacks. When you only have a tiny pasture to work with, you can concentrate a lot of effort learning how to get the best from it.

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