Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Lots More Photos

We had a visit today from Mr. Steve McNorton, Extension Agent for Leavenworth County, from Kansas State University.  

You see... we are losing huge areas of grass in the pasture and in the yard. 

Where you see brown, dead, CRUNCHY grass was tall and green like the fescue in the distance, just two years ago. 

It is not the drought.  

Here is what the northwest corner of our yard looks like now, and it's spreading across the driveway into the yard proper. 

Mr. McNorton said it almost looked as if a herbacious spray of some kind had been done... or blown over. 

We noticed that our neighbors, whose pasture wraps our place... also had a dead area along the fenceline. 
We wondered if they had sprayed for something before they put their cattle in their newly-fenced pasture about 15 months ago.  
About the time I noticed everything dying. 

You can just see the dead area beyond the mutual fenceline. 

The thing is... we have numerous spots of this dead now... though some fescue is trying to regrow. 

We also consulted with him about the area left so rough when a pond was attempted for us two years ago. 

He suggested harrowing it down this fall and re-seeding fescue. 
He suggested a pre-emergent for the yard, and more fescue in the fall... however.... he is going to do some research on our yard, because he was truly mystified by both pasture and yard.  The fact that some grass is trying to come back leads him to think one way. 

He will write up a report and do some research for us. 

What a relief to have some advice. 

Meanwhile, there was a backup at the nursing cage as the hens jockeyed to lay their eggs in the old henhouse. 
Surprise!  We moved Nugget and the three babies back into it this afternoon... they were NOT happy... because the next two days we are expecting SNOW and cold temps.  

Keith had accumulated so many vacation hours he was forced to take some off this week. 
He's been working on the little goat barn conversion. 

I cleaned it out and bedded it down, and got some help immediately with rearranging the fresh straw. 
Keith is going to make a little table contraption on several levels, for the goats to jump up on and sleep on. 

We'll have some playthings in the yard for them, too, the goatyard (mini-yard, llama-yard). 

I spent an hour this morning tie-wrapping the poultry wire to our dividing pasture fence this morning.  We did this several years ago, so that the chickens could not come through into the yard.  It had come down partially.  I worked on this section and several others.  It's all back together now, and I was able to mow that rough area along the fence when I was finished. 

Here's the Protector of Us All, and the Associate Protector. 
The Protector took a run at two coyotes in the pasture last night, and Keith thought she was going straight through the fence! 
She pulled up short just in time. 
She looks a little wolfish herself here. 

We have a good tight fence around the goat pen, and they will be locked in nightly.  We are putting heavy plastic on the door for a few weeks, and then they will have a hardwear cloth screen on the barn door, and the fencing to protect them.  And, a light-sleeping owner. 

That's it for a today at Calamity Acres. 


  1. Really interesting about the grass. What a great person to get some advice from! Where you do have grass, in your pictures :) It's twice as high as ours already! :) Goat set up is looking great, glad you have such a great handy man!

  2. That grass is a real puzzler! Have you tried talking to your neighbour about it, seeing as how he has it also? It looks wide enough for a crop duster. Any activity in the recent year or so? It's great to have professional help when you need it!

  3. This is Keith. Don't know about every state, but in Kansas the Kansas State University extension service has professional folks in every county. When Mary Ann mentioned to me earlier this week that the man's name was Steve McNorton, I wondered if he might be related to a guy that I've worked with for several years. Carl McNorton was, until he retired recently, the State Fire Marshall's Office representative in our State Emergency Operations Center. We've worked together on basicly every major disaster in Kansas in the last 7 to 8 years. So when I got home this morning from Home Depot and Mary introduced us, I asked Steve if he had any relatives that worked for the Fire Marshall's Office. Turns out Carl is his brother. What a small world! Anyway, we are going to continue to work with Steve on our horticulture issues and hopefully have one of those lush green lawns and pastures when it is all done. Take care everyone and give your pugs some hugs!

  4. I spray our fence lines, but nothing like that has ever occurred.

    We have bermuda grass. Our hay field is Sumrall 007 Horse Heaven Bermuda Grass. It's a patented hybrid that was developed by a fellow here in MS.

    I always heard fescue was not a good grass for horses because it can get a fungus.

  5. I hope they can figure out what is going on with your grass. Hmmmm...

  6. Much progress is always nice to see.

    Hope the pasture problem is resolved.

  7. I have seen this kind of damage before to my lawn in Houston, Texas. We had used a rented aerator (did not clean it with bleach beforehand) that was shared by several people on our block. All our lawns got spotty then brown and died. It was a fungus from the shared aerator that killed our St. Augustine grass according to TX A&M.
    We had to put down rich compost in the bare spots and reseeded. The new lawn came back after 2 months.Lesson learned do not use dirty shared lawn equipment.Hope this helps.

  8. Great that you can get such good advice! Wish we had something similar in the UK, look forward to hearing the outcome. Happy Weekend to you all!


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