Spring clearing is beginning for flower gardens! We have brushy areas here on the farm thick with grassy weeds. This is why we chose sheep in the first place (and for wool). They won’t eat woody growth but will happily forage on all things lush and grassy. When foraging, it’s always important to watch for toxic plants. In our area pokeweed, ivy, irises, chokecherry, St. John’s Wort and Black Locust are prevalent. A quick walk through the area to remove any unwanted growth beforehand, and also supervision, is helpful in keeping them safe and healthy.
Soon I’ll be planting rows of zinnias, dahlias, cosmos, sunflowers and strawflowers. Can’t wait!
And, because I know I will get asked, here are fourteen other toxic plants to sheep to watch for. This is not an exhaustive list so be sure to research your geographical region.
I have been growing my own food in some form or another for almost 20 years. I started with containers on a patio then upsized my growing operation with each house I moved to. I don't know everything about gardening by any means, but I've experienced and learned a lot. So here's some tips I want to share with you as you start planning your next garden. I hope it helps!
There's so much more I could share but we'll call it good for now.
When it comes to growing your own food, the most common question I receive is, “How much of each crop do I plant?” Every person or family eats differently and favors certain crops. And some folks (like myself) grow for fresh eating and preservation. So here’s my advice: make a grocery list. What do you buy? How much? How often? Grow that. For example:
My family eats garden fresh tomatoes raw a couple of times per week (excluding all the Sungolds that never leave the confines of the garden before I eat them). We eat tomato sauce twice per week in pastas and pizza so I need about 104 pints of canned sauce. Take a look at your favorite tomato variety... what is the yield like? Different plants produce different amounts. In short, I personally grow 30-35 tomato plants. This provides us with enough fresh and canned tomatoes for a year. Plus I have some left to donate to the food pantry.
Calculating how much food to grow takes time. But if you’re serious about self-sufficiency and security when it comes to produce, it’s well worth it. Take some time to analyze your consumption and cross reference that with what plant varieties you like to grow. Therein lies your answer.
There is something magical about horses in the snow. However beautiful, the cold season increases the risk for colic in horses. The fluctuations in the cold cause horses to “forget” to drink as much water as they should (or not have access to it due to a frozen water trough). The lack or decreased intake of water slows motility in the gut and causes stomach upset—ranging from gas and bloating to serious complications like twisted intestines.
Dozer (my black mare in the front) almost died two years ago from a horrible colic episode... she had had previous episodes before I even brought her home. So now I do everything I can to keep these babes safe and healthy, especially since one horse is recurrent. Here’s my tips:
I'm happy to say that since implementing these practices we've managed to completely avoid colic cases thus far. I hope this information is helpful!
Angela is the farmer and content creator behind Axe & Root Homestead LLC. This historic six-acre farm is home to two Clydesdale horses, ten honeybee hives, three Hampshire sheep, a guardian dog, barn cats and a flock of 40 geese and ducks. The farm produces maple syrup, fruit from a small orchard and loads of garden produce for consumption, preservation and donation to the local food pantry.