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. 


Granted I am severely biased but this is a beautiful piece of grazing property, albeit a tad in the middle of no where.


6 comments:

  1. Pardon a Desert Rats ignorance. Where does the water come from in the first place? Snow/rain?
    underground springs? Dead end creeks? Maybe your underlying soil is clay, so that it holds the water a long time? In this desert, water just speeds it way down through the sand and AWAY!

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    1. Snow and rain, yes. The whole area is a system of hills and valleys so when it is wet, one wetland will overfill and drain to the next. Actually there is a real problem with crop farmers draining wetlands in order to gain on more acre of ground, when they do that, well, the water must go somewhere and ends up in the next guys field or washes out roads etc. Clay loam soil so it will hold water for some time.

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  2. There are places like yours in Minnesota. Years ago, before I was married, I spent most of my time on my uncle's hobby farm - 180 acres of alfalfa grass with a large slough in the center. We had 2 goats, a cow and 2 horses! Not much, but there was a lot of wildlife, and waterfowl in the slough. You have the rolling hills and water. It's wonderful...

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    1. I've always thought of Minnesota as very similar, nice to know it is.

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  3. I just love your place. Ours is a bit similar to yours on a very mini scale. We live on prairie in Missouri. Not much of it left here due to farming, as well. We have sheep, milk goats and a mustang. I love your posts and imagine what our life would be like with more average as fabulous as yours. You are truly blessed.

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    1. Thank you. Sounds like you have a grassland oasis too. We do feel a deep gratitude for this place.

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