Just taking a breather, something that is very much needed in the heat wave and ensuing drought we’re enduring here in Michigan this summer. It seems like its par for the course in many parts of the country, so much that the USDA has declared over 1,000 counties in 26 states as disaster areas. This means that farmers in those areas will be able to call upon their crop insurance, if they have it. We don’t, because our garden is relatively small. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t affected. We are, in fact, in one of the many primary counties affected in this regard.

I can’t remember the last time it rained, and there’s no prediction for it until possibly tomorrow night. We are hoping for that to pan out, but the last several forecasts for rain in our area have not. Yesterday, it rained in places all around us, but not here in Tyrone Township! Our pastures are…crispy. There’s just no other way to put it. And ours are not unique. We visited one of our hay suppliers on Saturday. The field these bales came out of normally produces over 100 – he barely got 36 out of it, and even these bales were difficult for his baling machine to handle, because the grasses and alfalfa are so thin and wimpy. We paid for this second cutting of hay, what we were paying for third and fourth cutting last year. (Hay improves in quality throughout the year, making the later cuttings more desirable/valuable.) And he told us, if we see hay, buy it, because there is doubt about whether a third cutting will even be possible this year. So frankly, this is quite worrisome.

Sitting down is an implicit invitation for a goat cuddle pile, in the caprine world.

We need to give our goats access to another pasture – there is standing food for them in it, if we can get a fence around it. They have exhausted their current pasture, and so in order to insure their nutrition, we have to supplement with hay that we really should be saving for the winter. It costs around $1000 to put in a fence for the area we have – and so we are busy trying to raise the funds to do that, after having already spent the same amount just a few weeks ago to put in their current fenced pasture. Prior to that, we used to walk them. Yes, I channel Balki Bartokomous, the goat shepherd, when our herd needs it. And we did just that yesterday, supervising them in the new pasture we want to fence in. But in this heat, and with everything else we have to do, we were only able to do that for just over an hour. Then we had to load up their feeders with hay and let them back onto their existing fenced pasture to scrounge for what they can there.

It broke my heart this morning when I finished milking, went to open the (existing fenced) pasture, and noticed that they had all congregated excitedly around the new gate, hoping to go out where they had ventured yesterday. I simply cannot handle supervising 35 free-ranging goats on my own.

So, we have several things up for sale that we are hoping to use to put toward fencing supplies. We have two commercial walk-behind lawnmowers, a 48″ Scag and and a 52″ Scag, for sale.  We also have a milking doe for sale, as well as several goat kids. If you don’t have a need for any of these items, do you perhaps know someone who does? Could you share these links? We’d very much appreciate it.

Here’s hoping for rain and relief for us all. It’s going to be a tough winter for everyone otherwise.

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