Nebraska Chicken

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We have 72 hectares on the farm that turns grass into protein for families.  We named each paddock after a state in America … with the occasional city judging by circumstantial foliage ( see also Detroit, the shittiest paddock that is now the best paddock thanks to mob grazing ).

Nebraska is a north facing paddock that was once a corn field.  When we bought the farm, corn was grown and dried ready for harvest just before Zelie was born.  Funny side note, that big, beast harvester had a flat on the early morn of harvest so we watched as they called the tire changers in.  The harvest wasn’t ours.  It went the way of the renting farmer.

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After the harvest was done, we worked the field with cattle to create better pasture for cattle.

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The herd did a great job.  Also, Brent seeded alfalfa.  Great for drought.  Great for flavor.

As the field transitioned, we caught some random weeds that the kids collected.  That was a fun year for sunflowers.

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Then the pasture started getting serious.  New grasses volunteering amongst the alfalfa.

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Then we decided to run chickens.  Not many feed fresh alfalfa to their chickens.  Too expensive.  … but we have cows, so it worked out.

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And chickens LOVE alfalfa leaves.  When they are first introduced, they go right for the leaves above everything they have available on the buffet.

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Our Nebraska started with a cornfield in France.  Now, it feeds both cows and chickens.  The pasture is so much more resilient because of the work the animals have done.

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Chickens On The Move

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Brent and Otto moved the chooks for the second time today.  The chickens are young, so they are still working out how to work the pasture.  They are always on fresh grass for them to pull out the bugs and worms and nibble the alfalfa leaves.

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Lovely day today, not too hot.  Otto refreshes their water.

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He likes to see how high he can raise the hose while still making it in the tank.  I know I’ve set myself up for “boy jokes,” but he is very specific about his work.

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The herd are fat fat.  So much grass.  They got so bored today, they did a little jog then hung out by the water cooler.  I’m not a fan of a herd jog, but they settled in.  It’s nice to see them work a paddock.

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The Puffy Clouds of Bordeaux

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Beef to Bordeaux today.  I snapped a few shots.  When I loaded them on my computer at home, I noticed that these puffy clouds kept photobombing my shot.

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We have these puffy clouds over our pasture and the herd.  It’s good see see how they look over the big city.

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I wonder if anyone noticed.

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Traffic was light today.  There were a lot of people out enjoying the sunshine.  I think they were also enjoying the puffy clouds.

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Those clouds even made it into this shot of construction, temporary construction offices and an old tree trying to bloom.

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After all the meat was delivered, I ate l’Américain.  So many sandwiches to choose from, I chose that one because, I am American.  The sandwich man laughed.

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oh, what’s on l’Américain?

Ham, lettuce, tomato, hard boiled egg, pickles and mayo.  Yep, me too, I pondered my way back to the farm, “why these ingredients?”  What made this the American sandwich?

I Recognize Your Fowl

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Meat chicks have arrived.  They are getting acquainted with their new surroundings.  New grass, bugs, flowers, they spent more time exploring than eating the store-bought chicken food.

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The herd watched us load in the chicks.  They were not impressed.  “What about me?  What about our needs???”  The bellowed.  But, quickly found other grass to chew on.

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The chicks were impressed with the choice of food on offer.  Now we move them once or twice a day.  They always have access to green.  They never run around in brown, dusty dirt.

Woodhenge

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This is Woodhenge.  Brent took the photo above a month after we moved to the farm ( October, 2010 ).  It was early morning.  I’m not sure what the structure was intended for.  It rests in a paddock we call “Detroit.”  Detroit was named because it was overgrazed for too long. Then the auto industry of fertility left, leaving the paddock full of thistles and weeds.

We didn’t do anything major to Detroit.  We used it as a sacrificial paddock as it is close to the yards.  Brent over-seeded clover and rolled out hay.  The cows graze Detroit to work the soil.  Year after year, Detroit seemed to perk up.  Now, Detroit is full of many grasses.

Detroit is green, green, green and the thistles and weeds have lost.  But, check out Wood Henge!

Our silly cows used it as a scratch post and this is all that remains.

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I took this photo today from a different angle.  Don’t worry, the old trees in the “before” shot are still there and even bigger.

What Are They On About, Nuts?

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The herd is on Yukon.  They had exactly twenty-eight minutes to do so before I had to meet the kids at the bus.  Any funny bidness and I’d leave Brent to sort out the details.  They were well behaved.  Good cows.  Unexpected pasture in Yukon.  Brent was going to let it rest, but the grass was lush.

After the move, they tucked right in to the pasture, then they went to the trees.  Eating mostly brown, it seems they were interested in more than grass.  Nuts?  Truffes?  What ever the draw, they are happy and somewhat competitive.

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Underneath the tall growth is yummy pasture waiting for cows.

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Brent takes notes on fat heifers and other things.

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Black yearling loving the pasture …. yeah!

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The herd was happy to move despite the food they left.  They are a bit spoiled, that herd.

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Yukon should do them fine for the evening.  Tomorrow, more Yukon.
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A Slow Cow Move

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A great year for pasture.  The   vacationers complain, but the cows are full.   Brent is moving the herd to the back of the farm.  They left Colorado 2 and are now munching Colorado ( our mile-high paddock ).

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After a pep-talk, they finally walked through the lane.  Once there, they complained a bit because Colorado is not as good as Colorado 2.  Though they got munching pretty quickly.

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The Cows They Moove It Move It

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I can’t believe I live here.  Gorgeous day today.  A bird sang a song in my ear, a Golden Retriever pup snuzzled a calf and a butterfly recited, from memory, a Shakespearean soliloquy.  After so much wet, these days are treasured.

The cows moved from Sleepy Hollow Vineyard, an ex-vineyard turn pasture, to Costanza.

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The gate above is on.  When it hangs off the black thing, it is off.

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In the distance, our neighbors are bringing in their hay after drying in the Gascon sun.

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Rosebud took a ride to help with the move.  Where’s Rosebud?  Look at the the pasture, cross your eyes  and she will pop out.

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Front fence done.  Hopefully the cows will see it.

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I’m wearing my best gumboot sandals.  Yesterday, it was Fluevog pumps.  I am a woman of action.

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This is what they left.  The sun is HOT today, so the litter should provide some nice shade for the new growth.

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Brent is fixing some fencing er … yeah.  A bit far from the fence, but that’s what he’s doing.  Fence fixing.  I stand by that because you don’t want to get too close when you are fixing fences.

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The herd is fat, full and fantastic.  So, Brent calls them through.

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Here they come!
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OOooooo! cherries!!!

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Here they go, onto the ice.  ( … Ice Road Truckers ref )

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and moo-y.  She likes to blog about each cow move before she hits the pasture.  Yeah, yep, okay, uh-hah … got it.  Thanks Moo-y!  Off you go.

To Get To The Udder Side

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This is not my line, but thanks to N. Breese, the shining wit that he is, offered a lovely response ( we have this facebook page thing ).  Why did the cows cross the road?  To get to this lovely pasture.  Underneath all that tall stuff is clover, alfalfa, pretty purple flower thing and other lovely stuff for the cows ( Brent? What’s in there?! ).

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They were digging it.  This is the time of year where they enter a brown paddock and leave it green.  The brown seed heads get munched or knocked down and the  green shines through as the herd exposes and munches all the goodies underneath.

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They were patient cows while we set up the next move.  Above is the paddock they worked.  All the stuff standing was not good enough to munch and will provide litter and fertility for the regrowth.

As you can see, the road is not that wide, but we set up a lane to help guide them in.  The herd is good with the routine, but it takes one f*ing heifer to panic and things get complicated.  Rosebud guards the road.
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They were well behaved and almost rolled their eyes at us with the lane thing.  They know where to go.  I’m the one who worries.  Brent would have them cross the road without all the fancy lane bidness.
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Steer horns.  Big and pointy.

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This gal needs a comic balloon of wittiness.

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