Its pretty amazing how quickly nature will take back what is hers if left alone. Our fields were badly beaten up by years of chemical farming in order to grow wheat. The first winter we watched as our topsoil blew away with the wind having been left bare and exposed from the previous year’s harvest. We decided that enough was enough and that we were going to restore the place to natural short prairie grass along with some alfalfa. The idea is that we want to get some grazing animals (goats and cows) to rotationally graze the fields to get some nutrients back into the ground naturally as well as keep the weeds in check. We have been working with a guy in town to have him come out and mow the place and then seed drill it for us. Unfortunately, it has been such a wild summer with extreme dry and then more moisture than we’ve seen in years, that it was either too soft to get the tractor in or too hard so that the driller wouldn’t penetrate the ground. As a result, the weeds took over. The mice had a “field day” – literally, and the hawks and falcons had a happy hunting ground. It has felt all year as if we were trying to repel an invading force of weeds….. and we were losing.
Today we finally got the mower onto the place. The weeds are over 4 feet deep. Thankfully the tractor has enough power to cut them down without much trouble. However, we have had to split the job into a couple of days because with all of the dust and the abnormally hot September weather, the tractor kept overheating. Its quite a job but it is coming along. Next spring, when the ground dries out some but still will sprout seed, he will come out and drill about 20 acres and then we sit and wait and see if the seed takes. The seed has gotten insanely expensive and we have to put down about 35 lbs an acre. Guess I better start saving my pocket change. If it works though, not only will the land get healed but we will be able to put up all of our own hay for the animals to eat for the winter. They will become the compost factory and the manure to vegetable nutrient loop will be complete!