Saturday, October 1, 2011

The big pen is finally done!

We've wanted to get this area fenced off for so long, but something has always come up and kept us from it.  A few weeks ago I decided to go get all the lumber and boards we'd need and then we'd at least have them waiting when we could find the time.  Last week we put in a small pen between the barn and fenced yard for the dogs.  We figured it would give Bradley a safe place without Panzer around to harass him all day.  It's an area that's too small for him to be in all the time, but at least it gets him some peace and quiet until the two big pens are done.

After the small pen was in John started working on the larger pen for Sherman and Panzer.  In the meantime we were switching them and Bradley back and forth in the smaller pen since it had more grass than the dog's yard does.  Well, it took a few days, but finally the big pen is done.  About 8PM last night we finished the rough building for them sleep in at night.  I'll add a layer of hay bales and a tarp on top of it this weekend to finish it.  It's full of hay inside as well and will keep them warm enough for the next month or so until the temps start to really drop and they have to come into the shop at night.

We went out first thing this morning to find all three of them chomping away.  We've got Bradley in there too since the three of them ate nearly all the grass in the smaller pen for Bradley.  With so much room and grass they don't even notice each other.  Figured if we can keep them together for a week it'll give the other grass in his pen time to grow back so he can go there until the second large pen is put in. 

In all we dug just shy of 100 feet of 2 foot deep trenches and I think it was 20-some post holes, 3 feet deep.  Each was filled with gravel and dirt, as well as the posts and boards.  Thankfully we had an existing concrete block wall that took up another 40 feet or so.  The next large pen will go to the right of this one.  We're hoping that some day we can move Bradley and a friend to the large pen next to Sherm and Panz, and perhaps get a couple smaller species of tortoise - maybe a couple Redfoot or Russians. 

Realized as we were watching them all cruise around the pen, we really should have named Panzer 'Hummer'.  He's forever looking for rocks and things he can crawl over and when he does he reminds me of the Hummer commercials where they show them climbing the rocks in the desert. 

And last, the food they have.  I've noticed in there we have the standard blade grass.  But there's also a grass that's got a single stalk with the blades of grass coming off that.  Bradley prefers that to the other kinds of grasses.  There is also a good bit of wild onion growing in there.  Sherm seems to be the only one that likes it.  The boys pretty much eat around it.  We've got a couple kinds of weeks in there too.  The other weeds they like were eaten before I could even get the camera, but these other two survived.  One kind has a stalk that almost looks like it's got a purple-ish tint above the green leaves.  None of them like this weed.  I noticed a lot of these growing around our potato plants this year.  Think I'm just going to pull them since they don't like them.  The others Sherm likes.  They look almost like little blue-purple flowers.  And something that looks like mini wild roses.  They don't like those at all either, so I'll yank them out!  

 The weird grass - does anyone know what kind that (-v-) is?
 Wild onions.  They are all over in this part of the yard.  Sherm loves them!
 The wild rose looking stuff.  They don't like it, so it's being dug up.
 The weird purple flowering weeds.  They covered the garden around the potato plants this year too.
 The pretty weeds.  Sherm likes them and I think they're pretty, so they'll stay.  There isn't much of it anyway.

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