Thursday, April 3, 2014

Pasture Improvement

I mentioned in a previous post about all the pasture improvements I wanted to work on this spring/summer.  It finally warmed up enough this week to get started!

I don't know about everyone, but for me the minute it is relatively warm outside I throw myself into outdoor projects.  Luckily I had a good amount of stuff that could be done before things really warmed up for good (and the ground thawed).

The big thing on my mind right now is getting the pasture re-seeded, but before I can do that I needed to get the brush cleaned out of a few areas.

The sticker bush area almost a year ago.

The tall weeds up by the barn.  Luckily the llamas took care of these themselves!

Luckily the llamas did a good amount of the work last fall, eating down two areas that had shoulder-high weeds!  They wanted nothing to do with the sticker bushes though, so there were lots left for me to deal with.

Llamas make great weed-eaters!

That was the first thing I dealt with...cutting down all the sticker bushes.  After they were cut down, I raked them (and the underlying dead grass and weeds) into piles to be removed.

Another shot of the sticker bush area before clearing.

And after clearing!

Once the sticker bushes were out of the way, I tackled the grapevine.  I don't think there was a square foot of pasture without a piece of grapevine running through it, at least before I started pulling it out last fall.  I pulled out a good amount in the lower part of the pasture, where they set up their poop pile.  This week I worked on clearing it out of two other spots higher up in the pasture.  It is quite hard work...the stupid vines are really stuck to the ground!

This is where the tall weeds were by the barn.  There was also a lot of grapevine underneath, which I took out this week.
The last thing I focused on was moving some of the smaller rocks (well, anything small enough for me to carry) out of the middle of the pasture, and distributing them around the fence line to block holes.  The ground on this property is really uneven, so there were quite a few spots where there is a 4-6" gap between the fence and the ground.  Luckily the dogs haven't tried to get through them, but they could if they tried.  The chickens have also been getting through and into the pasture, and I definitely don't want that once I plant grass seed!  I've got most of the gaps filled now, another 2-3 loads of rock should finish the rest.

This is kinda hard to see, but this is one of the huge gaps in the fence that I plugged with concrete blocks and rocks.

Oh, and I still have to block off the rabbit holes.  I want to "evict" the rabbits but not kill them, so I'm afraid to completely block their holes...  I've been trying to scare them off...clearing all of the brush around the hole, and bringing Abby out to sniff around their hole.  I'm going to give them a week or two to "get with the picture" and move on, and then I'm blocking them off.  Don't want a llama breaking a leg!

Rabbit hole...

It has been a long few days, but I'm pretty proud with our progress!

All done with the work!

We're supposed to get a lot of rain for the next few days, but after that I think I'll plant the grass seed. If the ground is fairly saturated, it should be easier for the seed to get soil contact without too much work.  My plan is to rough up the soil a bit with a hard metal rake, spread the seed, rake again (and/or spread a little peat on top), and then walk over the area to compact it a bit.  I'm also going to spread some hay over the top to discourage run-off.  I really hope it works!

No comments: