Welcome to Antler Valley Farm

Grass!!!!

WE HAVE GRASS!!  WHOO-HOO!!!  Happy Dance time!  Yes, I know it’s silly to get excited about grass growing, but we have to have grass to have a farm.  Animals eat grass.   Animals have to have grass to eat and we really need to have grass growing to have animals that eat grass.   (Ok, please don’t judge me for that weird sentence.  That’s just an example of the way my brain thinks…it just keeps going and never stops… and rarely makes sense either.)  Anyway, animals are what is going to make this a working farm so basically grass is non-negotiable really.  So, when the grass started growing I was ecstatic!!  And of course, everything just looks prettier when its covered in green!  Well, duh!

 

 See what I mean? Green grass makes everything pretty!

 

The only thing that would be prettier would be animals grazing in that lovely green grass.  Try picturing a couple beautiful horses and a few sleek looking cows out there.  Perfection!

Since the fall of 2016 was so dry, we weren’t able to plant much grass seed.  Over half of what we did plant had actually survived the drought and the winter, so we were really happy.  Our plan was to have everything from the road back to the creeks in grass by the fall of 2017.  That’s about 30 acres of grass.  (I know that sounds like a lot, but keep in mind who we are.  We’re kinda crazy!)  However, I didn’t say lush grass fields.  I said planted in grass.  There is a difference.  Our plan was to keep burning the brush piles, cleaning the fields and have the grass planted by fall 2017 so that it could be getting established all winter and maybe some of it would be ready for light grazing by spring 2018.  Pretty big goals, I know.  Our goals would only work with lots of hard work and ample amounts of rain though…and maybe a touch of crazy stubbornness thrown in as well!

So in early 2017, we had planted about 15 acres of grass and were ecstatic with the rains we were finally getting.  Tiny little green sprouts formed fuzzy carpets over large portions of the fields.  I cried!  I couldn’t help it.  It was beautiful!  Jim was happy, but make no mistake, he didn’t shed tears of joy like I did.  A man would never shed a tear over something like that!  I guess a smile and a high five are enough emotion for guys?  Ok, I can live with that.  Trust me, my crazy emotions are more than enough for 2 people!

Fuzzy green carpets of baby grass!

If you consider the way we were planting the grass, then we definitely had reason to be happy.  We don’t do anything exactly normal, including planting grass.  No surprise there, huh?  We are the Carters and once you’ve known us for a while you just shake your head and move on.  Yep, they’re the Carter’s.  Yep, Carter Crazy!  So, for the grass to be sprouting so nicely considering the way we were planting the grass seed was extraordinary.  A real blessing.  Thank you Lord!!

 

 We actually planted this grass!  And it actually grew!!!!

We didn’t have a tractor, a large spreader or a seed drill.  Man, oh, Man, I really wanted a seed drill though!  Then I saw that they cost 4-6 thousand dollars.  I no longer want to buy a seed drill.  However, I would gladly accept a donated one though!!  Anyone?

We were waiting to buy a tractor until we moved out there so we didn’t have to buy a trailer and move the tractor back and forth every time we worked out there.  We didn’t want to leave it out there all the time either.  Although as Jim regularly pointed out, we did leave the dozer out there and it was fine.  I think he was worried about his precious, baby dozer more than wanting to get the tractor!  Ha!  Jim checks on his dozer almost every day.  Ok, he has went almost 4 whole days without checking on his dozer before.  He doesn’t have attachment issues or anything like I do though.  Nope, not Jim…  Poor Jim, I think my craziness is rubbing off on him after all these years.  Yep, poor Jim.

So this was the plan we came up with.  Our plan was…feel free to laugh, I know I did enough times!  Our plan was to buy a hand spreader.  Just one though, because I needed the exercise.  Ha!  Maybe I could lose a few pounds walking back and forth for days planting grass seed?!?  Well, that part of the plan was laughable as well!  I think I could have major liposuction done and not lose weight.  Actually, I think I could have my stomach stapled and not lose weight.  Sorry.  Never mind, I’ll stop now before I really go off the deep end about a woman’s body, having babies, stress, sleeplessness and weight gain.  Ugh!  Sorry, moving on now…

Meet our handy dandy grass seed spreader.  The girls called this my little red purse and it quickly became my best friend because I spent so much time with it!

When we were ready to plant the grass seed, Jim would root rake with the dozer to clear as many sticks as possible.  The root rake also made nice grooves for the grass seed to settle into, especially on the slopes.  Then I would go behind him and spread the grass seed with the hand spreader.  I walked back and forth for hours.  (Ok, it really wasn’t hours at a time, but I thought I needed some dramatic sympathy there!)  However, if you count the time it took to put out lime, fertilizer and grass seed then maybe it was hours at a time… No, I can’t lie.  It really wasn’t.

In reality, I loved planting the grass and unless the kids were complaining, it really didn’t seem like that long of a chore.  I want to know everything about this property like the back of my hand.   So what better way to accomplish that goal than to literally walk every inch of it?

Jim had gotten really good with the dozer and could quickly root rake the ground we were wanting to plant in grass seed.

Then Maleah or I would hook up the rake to the back of the chevy truck or Jim would run over it with the dozer if it was on a slope or hill.  Running over the grass seed with the dozer actually worked really good in places.  I was worried the dozer would crush the grass seed but Jim assured me that the seeds were a little more durable than that.  I suppose he was right.  Isn’t he always?!?  Saint Jim is so smart.

This is Jim’s old Chevy.  It’s only 25 years young and has been retired for the most part.  The engine runs great but the transmission is slipping a little and needs to be replaced but if you put it in 4-wheel drive and stay in 1st or 2nd gear it will climb a tree!  It works perfect out on the farm and Maleah is learning to drive in it.  Actually, she claims that it’s her truck now!  Jim is not so amused with that……Especially when she talks about painting it pink!  Poor Jim!  I wish I could intervene and help them work it out but I am always laughing too hard when the subject gets brought up!  Sorry, honey!

Our system of planting grass actually WORKED-regardless of how silly it seemed.  Dragging with the rake covered the grass seed just enough to help it sprout.  Whoo-hoo!!

The root rake covered the grass seed just enough.

One of the best parts about our system was that we could all help.  Jim would be on the dozer, I would be planting the grass seed and then Maleah would drive the Old Chevy and rake the grass seed in.  Cam and Maylin usually supervised from the dozer with Jim or from in the Chevy with Maleah.  Boy, are they slave drivers!  No slacking off when they’re around!

The end result was….dun-da-da-dun… Grass!  Tiny little grass sprouts that grew and grew!

Baby grass-that’s what I call this!  Tiny little sprouts of green everywhere!

This is the baby grass growing up after a nice rain.  And yes, I do talk to the grass when I’m taking pictures.  That shouldn’t really surprise you at this point.  I love the grass!

And then it turned into Gorgeous green grass!  We were halfway to having fields for a farm!!

Gorgeous green grass! 

More lush green grass…Just lovely.

Not all the fields are completely full of lush grass, but every rain makes the grass thicker and fuller.  Our goal is to have nice pastures by Spring 2018 so we were on schedule with our plans for once!!

This is some pictures from April and May 2017.  I took lots and lots of pictures of grass!!  I was too excited not to….and I think I’ve already mentioned my recent obsession with taking pictures.  My kids were just happy I was giving them a break from the camera.

That’s a lot of green popping up everywhere!

Making a road across this creek was one of the first things Jim did with the dozer.  After he cleaned up beside the driveway he made his way back down to the creek and started clearing fields.  These were the fields that I had wanted to have a few more trees, but now I’m really glad that he went a little crazy with the dozer.  All his demolition frenzies and hard work really paid off.  It’s such a lovely field.  I can’t wait to see horses and cattle grazing here.  Next year maybe?

All the spring rains helped the grass grow from this….

to this!

This is the view from the house site looking down at the pastures we had planted in grass.   It’s a little hard to see but there is even grass growing over by the cell tower.  That grass was planted a little later but it’s catching up nicely.

Now we just need a house built out there…and some animals to eat the grass…  Such a simple thought…

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