Winter time in the Ozarks
We have had temperatures below zero and a little bit of snow too. But the wind is the most brutal element of all. Sometimes it howls all night and day
The shop work continues however even with the cold. Some honey berry bushes arrived around Christmas and we planted those on Christmas Eve if I remember correctly. I think there are 700 trees on order coming before spring.
Most of those I ordered from the State for pennies on the dollar and I’m not expecting a whole lot in terms of quality. I did order 100 chestnut trees that I do expect to be good trees.
I have decided to swale the front west pasture which is around two and a half acres. There is a little pond at the bottom of the pasture that’s on a little hill and is nearest the house and the barn. The swales will be semi-circular and probably three or four coming down the hill should do the trick. It will make for an interesting food forest. I will leave enough space between them to graze and maintain with a tractor if need be. There is an old structure in that pasture that’s nearly dilapidated that might serve as a duck pen with some modifications. I cannot tell exactly what it’s function was before. It would be easy access to the little pond from there.
It will need to be very secure because there are coyotes here and I know it positively now. I came across a deer carcass in the forest. I think it was one of the two fawns we had seen with the doe back in fall. I set up the game camera near the carcass and caught three of them picking over the kill in the night. Now that the overgrowth has died down I’ve had a chance to walk the entire property. I see how they, the jackals, are coming and going now, the deer too. I don’t know how large of an area they work but they come and go sometimes we do not hear them for a couple of weeks. Other times they are very close. I have not found a den but I have found a spot where the deer must spend a lot of time sleeping. It’s very wallowed out and the grass is matted down. Its close to the big pond and very well sheltered by some large juniper trees.
The dogs have flushed out a few rabbits and I think we are overrun with them. The dogs can’t catch them though, not in the short run, they are much faster than even the fastest dog, who can fly. The only chance they would have is if they got one out in the open and it got tired out.
We cleared the acre or so field near the house to the east. They had been gardening on it and it had gone completely over to weeds. The winter did it’s job and most everything died off except for some dead weeds that had to be mowed down and pulled up. That field is ready to be cover cropped soon. We have decided to put some grapes in there. It seems like it would be a good place. I’ve been scouting the woods and I think we can get the poles for the trellises from there. If so that will take care of the largest expense. There are some fine wineries around here and nearly 150 in Missouri. There is a native grape here called Norton that is resistant to nearly everything and was never touched by phylloxera. The locals claim that Missouri grape vines saved Europe’s grapes, the Argentinians say the same thing. Who knows?