Stories of life on our farm in Northwest Georgia where every day is an adventure in this beautiful spot that God has entrusted to our stewardship.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Big Brush-Off

Winter is the perfect time for brush removal.  I wanted to get some of it taken care of as an encouragement to Herb so he could take it off his very long "To Do" list.  So I called on Randy, our trustworthy lawn service man.

He and his son started on a frosty morning, trimming along the road through the Middle Pasture.

It took two full days of work to get the job done.  I went down on Day 2 to check on how things were going.  You can see the clean fence line in the foreground with Randy and Travis about to tackle the next bit.

Randy knows all the local trees, and he told me this one had to go--it's a wild cherry.  I knew it was dangerous to livestock, but I had no idea what it looked like.  If the leaves fall off in the fall, the cattle can eat them with no harm done.  But if a branch should break off in a storm and the leaves wither, just a small amount will kill a full-size cow.

Randy knows from experience.  His father always told him never to feed wild cherry to the cows because it would kill them.  He didn't believe it, so he gave a branch to one of the milk cows.  "See?" he thought, "She loves it."  And then she went down.  Fortunately, young Randy had the sense to run tell his dad what he'd done, and the vet managed to save the cow.  He couldn't save Randy from getting his hide tanned, though!
Looking back along the cleared fence line and creek bed.  I wanted the cedars saved because they can serve as a secondary fence post, so the guys cleaned them off up to the top of the fence.

The thicket of wild plum was a real doozy.

The bonfire was burning all day both days, and the cattle were fascinated.  They made me laugh because it looked for all the world like they were having a weiner and marshmallow roast.

Siobhan's mouth is open here (left) because she's telling Wellie (red calf at right), "Wellie!  Don't eat that marshmallow after it fell on the ground!"

 Travis and Randy no only took down the scrub trees, but they also cleaned up the ones we were saving, like persimmons and oaks, so that we can drive under them without scraping the top of the Doodad.
 After the marshmallow roast, the cattle went over to dine on privet right off the "food cart."
Now that the creek bed was more accessible, Ebony decided to give herself a clay mask.
There's something fascinating about watching a fire burn, for both humans and bovines, it seems.

Misty inspects the nice neat fence line while the guys wait for the last of the brush to burn and the fire to die down.

Of course I had to tease Randy about giving us a big brush-off, but this was one we were glad for.


  1. Every thing is looking good Susan, I didn't know that about cherry trees, we planted several hundred when we planted all those trees. I also found it so interesting that the cows are so interested in fire, they are just like us in some ways.

    1. Thanks, Gordon. Apparently any pitted fruit trees are dangerous for livestock if they eat the withered leaves. That's why we don't graze the animals in the orchard.

      Yes, it fascinated me that the cattle were so interested in the fire. It's the first time we've ever burned in the pasture, so the first time I got a chance to see that.

  2. I love the photo with all the cows around the fire! It's like a far side cartoon.

    1. THAT's what appealed to me about it, Brent! I love Far Side, and yes, it does have that flavor.


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