Water and Such
In response to the question about the water the dogs are playing in in the last post here's more than you probably wanted to know :-) Our property is rolling hills, bush, pothole sloughs and wetlands; there is no river or creek. The above photo is one of the two wetlands next to our yard.
The dogs play in the sloughs and wetlands, some of which are quite large. Just fyi, sloughs are temporary collection points, they tend to be shallow and by late summer/early fall will have dried up. Wetlands are more substantial bodies of water that hold water year round. The riparian area (grasses/shrubs/trees) around each one will be different.
If you examine the next photo you can see five wetlands in the spread of ¾ mile. This is where the sheep are grazing now and funny thing: this is a file photo from a year ago but Cajun and I just moved sheep to the far side of this very pasture this afternoon. It's like we did a repeat of this photo.
Approximately 185 acres of our property is water. That’s more than one quarter section worth of water. Amazing for dry-land prairie and that’s the beauty of it too.
Part of the reason Allen and I pay a lot of attention to how the grass is doing, is because the grass is the natural filter for the wetlands. If this land was cropland you would see substantial affect on the wetland health, we know because when we bought this place it was cropland from one end to the other. We converted it back to grassland.
The water being in lowland areas coupled with low annual precipitation means the hilltops lack it. The nature of this land is hilltops with desert like conditions, slopes with mid range conditions, and lush valleys - all on a mini scale in each pasture. It makes rotational grazing challenging.
Given that there are numerous wetlands there is an abundance of marsh loving songbirds here as well as waterfowl. This area has one of the highest populations of migrating waterfowl in Canada.
Of course the numerous wetlands allow for an easier time of watering livestock. We pump water from the wetland to our portable water bus which lets the sheep drink from a trough. Still, if the water station is too far from where the sheep are grazing that day, the ewes will go down to the shore of wetlands for a drink.