We've managed to grow a slightly stunning patch of grass after waiting a mere 6 months. Considering the total lack of an irrigation system and puny sprinkles of rain here and there, this represents an enormous victory on our part. It didn't hurt that the animals have been cordoned off from the area entirely. Which, now that I think about it, means that we had to wait 6 whole months and carefully avoid the area altogether in order to grow this measly patch of grass. From that perspective, I'm not confident we're victorious grass farmers after all. In fact, maybe we should keep our day jobs.
Regardless of our debatable grass-growing skillz, the joy this grass brings to the animals is undeniable. This weekend we noticed Seamus pacing back and forth along the fence, blowing tiny drool bubbles, even though we'd just placed a fresh round hay bale into his pasture. Apparently this meant that our measly grass patch had reached a delectable level, and it was time to let them graze for a few afternoons. We opened the gate that separates the grass (i.e.: Marta's yard) from the animals. After a few moments of trickery (luring the cows with an empty feed bucket), Matilda walked gingerly through the gate and immediately realized she'd gained access to the grass bounty. Matilda, I should mention, does not "moo," at least not in the traditional sense. Rather, when she's got something to say she bellows in a horrific, guttural way. It's part roar part bark, and no "moo." Basically, if you've never heard her then it's pretty frightening the first time the horned beast makes this sound. And this is exactly the sound she made at the sight of accessible grass. With a strange "RRrraaawwwr" she took off down the hill and literally (literally) kicked up her heels. I mean, for real. First she kicked out the left leg, then the right and essentially skipped downhill, roaring and tossing her head. I'm positive that my roaring cattle and rolling donkeys are irregular.
It was peaceful watching the animals enjoy the grass on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. It's not that they don't have anything to graze in their own 12 acres but nothing there rivals the carefully cultivated grass patch.
This was also their first close encounter with Marta, and the minis were particularly interested. Mostly I believe they were interested because, for the past several months, they've watched me emerge from the trailer holding all kinds of food. Probably they were hopeful I would feed them.
Which leads me to question exactly when enough is enough when it comes to livestock. No matter how fresh and sweet the bale of hay, how large the pile of sweet feed, or how green the grass - the animals ARE NEVER satisfied. Even as they stood by the trailer door expecting to be hand fed apples, they were surrounded by lush grasses that I'm sure they've dreamt of all winter. But who am I to judge? I just added four new shirts to my already over-stuffed closet after despairing that I had nothing to wear.