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  • Writer's pictureLeith MacKenzie

December 2020

I hope things are going well. The great weather we had in October has continued in to November and December. As I wrote earlier, the area was very dry this summer and fall. The lack of rain led to pretty minimal fall grass growth. The fall grass growth is what we rely on for the fall and winter grazing of the sheep. On a normal year the ewes will graze well into January even with heavy snow. This year we should make it into January if there isn’t much snow. The sheep can find a foot of grass under a foot of snow but it’s much harder to find 4 to 5 inches of grass under a foot of snow. The calories it takes to dig it out is more than they get from that little amount of grass. As long as there isn’t much snow they are quite happy grazing 4 to 5 inches.

Pictured below is a foot or so of grass in one of our hay fields. The field was last mowed in August. This is what stockpiled pasture should look like. There is lots of very nutritious feed here.

Sheep grazing stockpiled pasture in winter

It’s hard to see but the orchard grass hanging from this lambs mouth is 16 to 20 inches long and is nice and green.

Lamb grazing 16 to 24 inch orchardgrass in winter

Below are some bred heifers that are getting pushed a bit to clean up some pasture. Again, there isn’t enough grass here if there was any snow but the bit of grass here is easy for the cows to find without any.

The main herd of cows and calves have eaten all the grass at the main farm and are eating just hay and baleage.

Beef cows and calves eating hay and baleage in winter

This year we had some important additions to the farm, including my wife, Mary Kate MacKenzie, and her ten honey bee colonies. The apiary is set up just down from the house in one of the sheep pastures, and the bees forage on wildflowers in a 1-mile radius around the farm. The photos below show our first colony on the farm; a frame of honey bees (can you spot the queen?); Mary Kate working in the bee yard; and honey extraction in progress.

If you would like to try our honey, we have summer honey available through the buying club this month, just in time for the holidays!

Thanks for reading,

Leith MacKenzie


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