Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The Inefficient Farmer

As I carried four flakes of hay to lambs in the front pasture, returned to the barn with a bucket full of ice and walked back to the pasture with a bucket of water, I thought of a farm planning book I'd read years ago.

Minimize your steps. Efficient farmers design their layout so that few steps are involved in the daily chores.

I didn't follow that advice, and for the past month, I've been highly inefficient, and walking thousands of steps during morning chores so that I can offer hay and water to lambs in one pasture, to breeding ewes and a ram in another pastures, and to dry, or unbred, ewes that I use for sheepdog training in a third pasture.

It's not like this most years.

Most years I schedule the lambs to go to the butcher in early November. But scheduling conflicts pushed the date to December, when the pastures have little grass left and when water freezes overnight.

That changed this weekend when the lambs went to the butcher; I then moved to the ram and wether to the barn and merged the ewes into one flock.

On Monday morning, I walked 10 steps to feed the horses; 15 steps to feed the ram and his friend, and 15 steps to feed the ewes.And, with chores completed and extra time on my hands, I lingered in the barn, petting the cat, watching the ram nibble his hay, burying my hands under the horse's mane, and still the model of inefficiency.

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