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Summer Rules

Despite our couple of days of rain cooled air, summer has arrived, so we need to implement the summer rules: Cut back on everyone's feed.  Usually by half.  We have nice pastures with lots of grass and brouse. Do the pastures need to be mowed?  We have sticker burrs and a few less than desirable plants to be dealt with. Check which areas the llamas and goats have access to.  Should I open/close some gates to let them into different areas?   Make sure the sprinklers are turned on.  The garden bins get watered every couple of days while the shaded areas in the goat pens and pasture 5 get watered 4 times a day.  This gives the llamas a...

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Garden Bins

I have six garden bins out the back door of my studio.  They are each about 7' in diameter and are raised so I don't break my back working on them.  Depending on the year, we may have 1, 2 or 3 of them planted with vegetables.  Sometimes I plant marigolds or purple basil to use as natural dyes.  One of the bins has always been planted with madder, also a natural dye.  Sometimes I plant sunflowers as a treat for the goats.  I have planted naturally colored cotton which is always a hoot.   This year's start to the planting season has been problematic.  We have had cool temperatures this spring and plenty of rain - all nicely spaced.  It should...

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My Failed Wildflower Garden Rises

I have worked very hard over the last 10 years to create a wildflower garden in front of my studio.  The location has everything to do with the drainfield for the studio's septic system.   This part of the yard looks perfectly open and driveable but the slotted pipes that are the drains for the septic system are very close to the surface and could be damaged by big trucks driving over the area.  So I thought of having a wildflower garden over the top of the pipes.  How cool would that be?  Wildflowers in the spring but then I would just leave the patch to mature and drop all the seeds.  We could mow it again in the fall/winter in time...

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Spring Shearing

My goats were sheared way back at the beginning of February.  That was before the coronavirus became a pandemic and we all started hunkering down at home.  The llamas were sheared just this past Sunday. The date for shearing was pushed forward a week so our shearer could get a Covid-19 test.  Sean Price is the first person I know who has been tested.  Fortunately, he passed the test with flying colors!  Negative is such a good answer. I am down to only two llamas now.  Tucker went off to a new pasture and a new pasture mate.  Maggie was suddenly alone and llamas, like goats, don't do well alone.  Turns out he had a rough first week and stopped eating...

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Thoughts on Mushrooms

We have an assortment of mushrooms that grow out here.  This past winter and spring I have tried to get photos of all the different types.  I'm sure there are many I've missed.  I haven't seen the puff balls yet but they may just not be up yet.   I love frying up a pan of button mushrooms to have with my steak or my eggs or to add depth of flavor and texture to my spaghetti sauce.  I have never tried eating any of the mushrooms I find growing wild.  I know many are poisonous and I wouldn't trust my general lack of knowledge to know which are which.   In my youth, I did hunt for morels along...

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