Archive for March, 2016

Growing Grass

March 13, 2016

We have been working steadily for quite a few months now, to get our middle 2.5 acre paddock ready to grow some good grass for the stock.  There was more work involved than I had realised, and it was definitely a learning experience!

Firstly Josiah and I steadily worked our way through the paddock with a brush cutter, slowly cutting back the sedges that were quite thick and tall in places.
Cathy brush cutting middle paddock
Then we paid a local company to come and spread lime.
Kim spent many hours on the tractor, getting all the 50 year old parts to adjust as they were supposed to – no easy task.  When that was done we set about the task of ploughing.  It was a slow job, with numerous stops when the shear pins broke because of underground obstructions, but we worked our way through it.
Ploughing the middle paddock
The plough digs under the dirt and turns it over.
Ploughing the middle paddock
Ploughing the middle paddock
Once the ploughing was finished, Kim ran over the paddock with our old discs, to break up the clumps of dirt and roots.
Discing the middle paddock
Then it was back to work on the tractor again to get the power take off to work.  We needed the PTO working so that the rotary hoe would function as it should.
It was about this time that the bush fires took off in Tassie, which fairly hampered our progress.
It was hard to focus on projects when we were constantly surrounded by smoke, watching the fire website and being half packed ready to evacuate if the fires threatened.  It was a very unsettling time, and we were glad to have the ploughed paddock that we could put the pony and cattle in when we did evacuate one night.
Silk in the plowed paddock with smoke
They were constantly telling us that embers travelling in the wind might take off ahead of the main fire front in Tasmania’s unusually dry conditions.  Thankfully the wind died down most evenings and the fire never came through our place.
Twinkles with her calf in the ploughed paddock
Mole Creek turned into a fire fighter focus point.  They set up a camp in a paddock, had the helicopters on the footy oval and used the hall for co-ordinating.
Firefighers (1)
We were so relieved when we finally had some decent rain – we had been praying hard for it!  We had 220mm on our property and 150mm in Mole Creek town over a 24 hour period.  Tassie had drought, fire and flood all on the same day!  It didn’t completely stop all the fires but it certainly helped, and some follow up showers and lots of hard work from the fire fighters has finally gotten the bush fires all pretty much under control now.  In fact the camp was packed up last week and most of the interstate firies have gone home.
But back to the paddock!
Kim ran over it twice with the rotary hoe to further break up the clods of dirt and roots before the rain came.  We really wanted to get the roots of the sedges exposed over summer so that the old plants would die, leaving the ground ready for our chosen grass seed.
The first couple of times Kim did the hoeing, it was very dry and dusty – this is what he looked like when he stopped.  🙂
Kim covered in dust after rotary hoeing paddock
We had been advised to sow the seed at the beginning of March, so we did one more run over with the rotary hoe to loosen up the soil again last week.  It was after the rain and not so dusty, for which Kim was very thankful.  Then we got all hands on deck to hand sow the seed.
We put in a mix of rye grass, cox foot and white clover.  Even the dogs got in on the action.
Then the final task was to run over it with the harrows, which covers up most of the seed and just generally smooths it all over.
After that all we could do was wait.  And it is wonderful to see the grass coming up now!
Grass growing in the new paddock
I think I will leave our other news for another email – this one has become rather large!