I have a hard time trimming here and there…but no need to go into that. I’m talking about trimming grass. There are places it is simply dangerous and foolish to drive a tractor. For example, the pond’s edge.
We spend a lot of time at our pond swimming, skating (in the winter), catching frogs, fishing or paddling around in our boats. Most of these activities require access to the shore. When you are barefoot and wearing shorts…well, a sand beach would be ideal. Let me know if you want to contribute to the sandy beach fund. In the meantime, we prefer to keep the weeds short.
So how do you get it done? For years we haven’t. This year things are different. We have cows.
This ground hasn’t been grazed in years…since I was a kid – so the grass is fairly sparse. Much of what was out there wasn’t very tasty…but they do like Johnsongrass. They don’t care for goldenrod no matter what though. One thing they excel at is trimming up lower branches and opening up new fishing areas. Along the way they trample in tons of carbon, add fertility and help tighten plant spacing by pushing new seeds in contact with the soil. That’s all good but we also lose a little hay from the hayfield…but most of it is pretty low-quality stuff anyway. The cows need to move quickly over this ground. No big deal though, I have gained 5 days of grazing by going around the pond and may get 3 more before we’re finished.
They find their way into thickets and tangled masses of grapes, saplings and fallen limbs and tromp the whole down into the soil. It’s pretty cool. I have been trying to figure out how to cut into this oak regrowth all year and retain the strongest shoots. Well, the cows figured it out for me.
All of this is really accomplishing a couple of things that are very intentional. First, I’m stretching my pasture by grazing stockpiled reserve elsewhere. Second, I’m utilizing areas around the hay field that I can’t mow. Having these edges grazed should help my hay cure faster beyond building fertility in the field over time. I should point out, I have a fence keeping the cows out of my alfalfa and another fence keeping the cows out of the pond. (Had to wade out around some trees with long fence posts a couple of times.)
Much of this exercise was inspired from years of reading Throwback at Trapper Creek. Thanks Matron!