Our War Against Swamp Grass and Other News

swamp grass clumpWe are advancing our battle against the swamp grass (Juncus acutus) that infests 4 out of 7 of our pastures.  We had been fertilizing, mowing and overseeding with clover after being told these actions would help which they have not.  We had heard spreading lime would help, but it was pretty expensive.  All the information about fighting it I can find is from Australia.  It is considered an endangered native plant in California, and they plant it in Portland as part of rain gardens.  But here our animals will not eat it, and it crowds out the edible grass.  So next we are going to experiment with burning it and tilling it.  Above is a thriving clump of swamp grass, and below is a small section that I burned after mowing compared to the rest which I did not burn.

burnt swamp grassTom is going to try to till a small swath and overseed it.  The Australian sites mention using a yakka cutter, but I do not think we can find one here.  Wish us luck.

In other farm “news” I pulled out an old piece of electric fencing because the netting is ruined, but I was going to remove the posts and reuse them.  I laid it down for a couple of minutes and found Shorty entangled in it.


I untangled her and five minutes later found her tangled in it again.  Silly goat!


We finally released the lambs from their pen this week.  Tom was extra nervous for some reason about raptors getting to them so they have been under cover until now.  Although all the new sights and sounds are somewhat scary to them I think they are enjoying their freedom.

Maybelle and Wynette

And I learned today that chickens love leftover spaghetti noodles.  Their all time favorite food is earthworms followed closely by soft red fruits like strawberries and  tomatoes.  So I think the noodles remind them of the worms.  They grab a noodle, run away with it, and suck it down whole.


And a cute photo of our beagle Sunny and her unusual sitting preference.

Sunny sit

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Late Spring Farm Chores

corn starts

Today I have the garden almost completely planted.  I put in the starts of corn, sunflowers, cucumbers and the last of the onions.  We just have tomatoes and sweet potatoes to go.

I sheared the remaining three elderly sheep; Sheila, Sadie and Bobbitt.  Sheila is one of our oldest sheep at 16.  Sadie is my first sheep, and she is 17.  Sheila and Sadie are blind.  Bobbitt is the lamb in our wedding photo and is 12.  I decided not to shear Lonny (also 12) because I think he is coming to the end of his life.  He is not eating much nor moving much.  I am worried shearing is an unnecessary stress for him but am concerned he will be uncomfortably hot the next couple of days.  I hope I made the right decision.  Here is Sadie, not too happy about her hair cut.

shorn sadie

I also brushed our Satin Angora rabbits.  I am trying to brush them more regularly to present matting and keep them cooler.  Here is Beavis, not too happy about his brushing.

brushed BeavisThis wore me out.  More of the same tomorrow.

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Open Farm Day


Schoonover Farm!

Sunday, June 7



You can come and visit chicks, lambs and a calf as well as adult llamas, donkeys, cow, sheep, goats, peafowl, geese, ducks, chickens and rabbits.

both lambs

We will also have refreshments in the house near our hand washing station (our bathroom).


So please email me at donnawh@earthlink.net to let me know you would like to come and to get directions.

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