For a while we were trying to beat the heat and hoping for rain, and now we're getting the rain and the heat is still here, albeit not quite so close to the 100 degree mark. At least this rain has made the pastures a little less crispy. The cool season grasses like the orchard grass likely won't come back fast enough to do much this time of year, but the lespedeza in the front pen where the bucks are is coming on. With the rain we're getting (still, I am NOT complaining, as I know just how lucky we are to have had some) we have also had some super high humidity. We have areas where the grass was growing white stuff on the edges, so I looked it up and it is apparently a slime mold, and occurs during extended periods of rain and high humidity. High humidity is an understatement. I work around the heat and do my farm stuff as early in the morning as I can convince the kids to get going. The afternoons are miserable for all, human and caprine. On the days I run my mother around for her errands, it almost makes more sense just to water everyone and wait until dusk to feed, but that makes for a lot of trips back and forth on that long curvy road between home and farm.
|slime mold growing from rain and humidity|
|Ace. My phone's camera stinks and so does he.|
|Hot days make for early mornings and time in the shade|
I am thinking again about how to make our pastures resilient. We definitely have species that are drought tolerant (alfalfa and some lespedeza, and to some extent chicory) in the fields. None of these work as well as they could without the grasses to balance them as a forage, though. I'll mull this over a while, and try to do a little research, and see what we might consider adding. We also need to think again about management practices for both the animals and the pastures, and of course, for the water. Without water, all the other stuff becomes moot. There is an old shallow irrigation pond out in the woods, and I don't even know if it stays full year round these days. Maybe we should clear a path to it and monitor it, to see if it something we could use in the future. I assume once we fence those woods the goats may be able to use it as a water source, but if the water is of poor quality it could do more harm than good. And if it goes away competely in hot weather, then we have to know it won't be something we can count on anyway. I just want to know I have some options. It's that whole "resilience" concept.
|Pastures just coming back from the point of "crispy"|
|Another downpour. I ain't complainin'.|