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sheep fencing recommendations

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Dear Lynn,

 

You considered: "The question will be whether we get something just to keep the freezer and well going - or whether we spring for one of those outrageously priced big whole-house generators that runs on propane and that turns on automatically if we're out of town and it senses the power has gone out."

 

You can (and most country people do) run a limited whole house generator but it must be wired in correctly or (a) you'll fry a lineman or (B) the electric company will send a surge through the lines to fry every miswired generator so their lineman don't get fried.

 

As I recall, our generator cost about $900 and you'll want some place to store it within 50 feet of the house.

 

I know only two people who needed their whole house generators and both failed to start.

 

If you're not home you won't need water and an unopened, full chest freezer will probably be okay for a day or two in hot weather. Ask a neighbor to come over and fire up the generator. In the rurals, good neighbors are vital.

 

Donald

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Lynn I find my Jetta TDI wagon (5 speed manual) as good or better than any car I've driven in the snow; it has the winter package which allows me to lock the front axle (both tires spin). Good tires are key.

 

We are using ProFence and our contact at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation like the work they do.

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Must be I don't have the right tires, then, Mark, because this car is AWFUL in the snow (or on wet roads), as was the Toyota Corolla wagon I had before that. (OTOH, my VW Rabbit could scale mountains, as long as I was careful about the low clearance; this is why I'd gone back to VW after having the Toyota).

 

Cool, thanks, I'll check out ProFence!

 

Lynn I find my Jetta TDI wagon (5 speed manual) as good or better than any car I've driven in the snow; it has the winter package which allows me to lock the front axle (both tires spin). Good tires are key.

 

We are using ProFence and our contact at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation like the work they do.

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You can (and most country people do) run a limited whole house generator but it must be wired in correctly or (a) you'll fry a lineman or ( B) the electric company will send a surge through the lines to fry every miswired generator so their lineman don't get fried.

 

As I recall, our generator cost about $900 and you'll want some place to store it within 50 feet of the house.

 

I know only two people who needed their whole house generators and both failed to start.

 

If you're not home you won't need water and an unopened, full chest freezer will probably be okay for a day or two in hot weather. Ask a neighbor to come over and fire up the generator. In the rurals, good neighbors are vital.

 

Donald: the last time (and I swore it would be the VERY LAST TIME) I ever allowed my husband to play at amateur electrician (he now only does so when I'm away), he was trying to run an extension cord along a baseboard to provide us with an extra outlet in the apartment we were renting. I was out in the garage with the power sander finishing some shelves when he came out, sheepish look on his face, holding the wirecutters. Which were now *badly* pitted. Seems he'd thought it would be a good idea to plug the extension cord into the outlet so that it didn't shift while he was tacking it in place. When the cord was at the right spot, he went ahead and cut the wire (the next step was supposed to be to attach the receptacle) - forgetting that it was live.

 

He's also been known to get out in the snow soon after a several foot snowfall so that he could climb a ladder and use a chain saw to attack the ice dams forming on the roof of our house. Visions of him cutting an arm off as the dam breaks and a snow avalanche sweeps him (and his fool chain saw) off the ladder....

 

I'm perfectly happy that he'll be treating the farm as a "condo". For all his positive attributes (he can troubleshoot any computer, and is my ace in-house tech support), he's really not safe with most power tools. I'd never dream of allowing him to hook up a generator.

 

Now, if I could borrow Priscilla's Bill for a weekend...

 

We'll definitely have to work on the "good neighbor" part of things!

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Since I live in the Land of Hurricanes, we have a nice, but not whole house generator. It will not run everything at the same time, but we run the freezer for a couple hours, then the pump, then we run the oven/microwave, then the pump again, etc. The freezer only needs to be plugged in for a couple hours a day if it is left closed, so we plug it in and get food out and let it recool. The whole house A/C is too much for the generator, so we have a window unit for emergencies. Down here, I consider A/C to be essential if you plan on getting any sleep at all.

 

Our barn is wired for the generator to stay out there and send power to the house. We have to flip one switch to take us off the grid and then hook up the generator.

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Must be I don't have the right tires, then, Mark, because this car is AWFUL in the snow (or on wet roads), as was the Toyota Corolla wagon I had before that.

 

I had a Corolla wagon for 7 years and got around just fine in upstate NY snow. I was always impressed with how well it handled, and I really wish I had it back.

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My husband reminds me that the house is already set up for a generator. Not sure if the generator is something that's included or not. Perhaps it'll be like the tractor and farm truck - we'll hope they'll offer them at a fair price.

 

We've often thought about getting a generator for our current place, but have instead relied on the "good neighbors" across the street to string an extension cord were that needed while we were away.

 

When we had that 'Derecho' that knocked out power to this area the summer before last, and friends were without power in sweltering mid-Atlantic heat for a full week (somehow we miraculously retained ours), they all moved to motels. Baltimore summers are not survivable without A/C.

 

I like the thought of having the generator in the barn... I'll put that on a future "wish list"!

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Must be me as a driver, then. (I confess, I grew up in Southern California. Snow driving is still not in my genes, even after 2 years in Canada, 9 in Boston, and 21 in B'more).

 

I had a Corolla wagon for 7 years and got around just fine in upstate NY snow. I was always impressed with how well it handled, and I really wish I had it back.

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My experience is similar to Mark's .. a lot of it has to do with the tyres. Either use a good 'all year round' type or else swap to winter tyres (different kind of rubber) when the temp drops below ~45F. The difference is remarkable..you really feel them stick to the road.

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I used to use snow tires when I lived in Ithaca, NY. I've had good "all weather" radials on my last two cars (both front-wheel drive). Maybe I should go back to snow tires. Though I think I'd prefer 4WD/AWD.

 

Maxi, do you ever sleep? What is it - 2 AM your time?

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I used to use snow tires when I lived in Ithaca, NY. I've had good "all weather" radials on my last two cars (both front-wheel drive). Maybe I should go back to snow tires. Though I think I'd prefer 4WD/AWD.

 

Maxi, do you ever sleep? What is it - 2 AM your time?

Where I live (some steepish hill roads and unsalted/unploughed side roads) I've found even with a 4WD, that it still is worth getting a set of winter wheels..only issue is storage space for the set I've not got on the car. (As the tyres last twice as long because they are only used for half the year, I feel the additional safety factor more than outweighs the initial cost of getting the second set).

 

It's only 1am here..and I guess I'm one of those folk who need a bit less sleep (useful at lambing time).

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Maybe it's a city vs. country thing, but I have survived VA or NC summers without a/c all my life! ;) (Of course people come into my office and complain it's a sauna, so clearly I like it HOT!)

 

J.

Baltimore summers are not survivable without A/C.

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I was in my late 30s when I moved to the mid-Atlantic. Before that I lived places (California, UK, upstate NY, Canada, Boston) with either dry hot summers, or temperate ones. I didn't even own a car with air conditioning. The 90 degree temps, 90% humidity in a Maryland summer was a shock to my system. Spending as much time as I do in an air-conditioned building, I'm not sure I'd ever be able to acclimate without A/C. I wish it weren't the case, but it is.

 

I did get offered a job in Atlanta once. Stepping off the plane to 90 degree temps and 90% humidity in early June (when we often don't see this until July or August) convinced me right away that there was *nothing* they could offer that would convince me to move.

 

Still waiting to hear from the realtor. Had a nice chat with NRCS folk yesterday, though. They agreed that the two adult sheep per acre limit imposed by Baltimore County is ridiculous - they were convinced I must have read it wrong. Nope.

 

Maybe it's a city vs. country thing, but I have survived VA or NC summers without a/c all my life! ;) (Of course people come into my office and complain it's a sauna, so clearly I like it HOT!)

 

J.

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Still waiting to hear from the realtor. Had a nice chat with NRCS folk yesterday, though. They agreed that the two adult sheep per acre limit imposed by Baltimore County is ridiculous - they were convinced I must have read it wrong. Nope.

 

Yes, It is kinda crazy.. makes much more sense to decide stocking density based on what type of sheep you have plus what your ground and grazing is actually like. There are places in the UK (and no doubt in the US) where stocking density has to be less than 1 sheep/acre because the ground is so poor - other more fertile places can cope with a much higher stocking denisity without significant problems to the sheep or the land.

 

I'm sure you have lots of mentors who will help you sort out how best to graze your land but this booklet on grazing strategies, may be of some use because it does have quite a lot of general principles despite being primarily directed towards the English farmer.

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Cool, Maxi - this looks like a great booklet! It's a nice complement to a day-long workshop I attended a year ago on sheep nutrition (included how to rate hay, what to look for in buying hay, how much vitamin mineral to supplement, how much protein is needed in their diet at different times of the year).

 

The current owners had half a dozen cattle on ~ 5 acres alone, and it wasn't overgrazed (but they were probably exceeding the stocking rates imposed by the zoning laws). I'd have thought you could easily have four sheep to each heifer/steer. Not my rules...

 

Did hear back from the realtor - he thinks we should offer ~85% of the asking price, but be willing to go as high as 90%. Still don't have the answers to some of the questions... hoping to get those today. I'll keep people posted!

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This topic warms my heart. . .a frustrated "Beltway Bandit" pining to make a clean break from the 90+ minute, 60 mile each way commute to an office job. . .

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i really like the Eblex stuff (Eblex is the English beef and lamb levy board whose role is to improve the profitability and sustainability of the English beef and lamb sector). IMO their 'better returns programme' http://www.eblex.org.uk/returns/. pamphlets and bulletins make it easy to find current best practice recommendations.

 

Good luck with getting your questions answered (are you sure he/she isn't a politician?) and hope the negotiations go smoothly.

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Leave it to politicians to come up with laws that arbitrarily limit stocking rates.

 

ARTICLE 1: GENERAL PROVISIONS
§ 100.6 Land used for stabling and pasturing of animals.
http://ecode360.com/12100705

 

 

Clearly states minimum of 3 acres to keep sheep and maximum 2 adult sheep for each acre of grazing or pasture land.

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Yes.. I never doubted Lynn, but it does show that Baltimore legislators have little idea about agriculture and the relative grazing requirements of cows and sheep

 

As the restriction doesn't seem to apply to 'commercial' enterprises,, if you sell some lambs for meat, does that make you exempt?

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I don't know what it takes to be considered a 'commercial' enterprise; is selling sufficient or are licenses, sales tax IDs, etc required to be considered a 'commercial' enterprise.

 

And I did find it in the code......

 

AGRICULTURE, COMMERCIAL The use of land, including ancillary structures and buildings, to cultivate plants or raise or keep animals for income, provided that the land also qualifies for farm or agricultural use assessment pursuant to § 8-209 of the Tax-Property Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended. Commercial agriculture includes the production of field crops, dairying, pasturage agriculture, horticulture, floriculture, aquiculture, apiculture, viticulture, forestry, animal and poultry husbandry, the operation of an equestrian center, horse breeding and horse training and also includes ancillary activities such as processing, packing, storing, financing, managing, marketing or distributing, provided that any such activity shall be secondary to the principal agricultural operations.
[bill Nos. 51-1993; 24-2002]

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If feasible then becoming a commercial enterprise may be financially sensible/tax efficient, cos it may allow for expenses (such as fencing etc to get back to the OP as well as all sheep husbandry costs etc) to become tax deductible which they probably wouldn't be for a hobby venture.

 

Obviously, as a non - US citizen, this is just speculation on my part.

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Dear Doggers,

 

When we moved to the farm 45 years ago, we were stone ignorant about farming, rural living, sheep. dogs, how to stay warm, how to feed ourselves (we planted 155 tomato plants in our first garden). We'd seen Easy Rider and despite Wendell Berry's counsel, we fretted about farmers with American flags in their windshield and rifles in their gun racks. We reduced our income by 90% in one year and if it hadn't been for Euell Gibbons wild foraging books we would have gone hungry.

 

But - and this is the difference between what we did and real poverty - we chose it and if our new life had flopped we could have found our way back into the old one.

 

I couldn't make such a complete life change now but we were young, idealistic, healthy and stubborn.

 

This morning the sun underlit the sky red over the mountains and Jake (he'll be three in January) took a redirect in the hill field, a half mile away.

 

Anne and I got lucky; God was good to us.

 

Our new life didn't turn out anything like what we thought it would but coming to the farm made Anne and I who we'll be until the end of our days.

 

Donald McCaig

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WOW, that's a LONG commute! My husband's will be ~ 32 minutes (without traffic), mine ten minutes or so longer, but still only half yours. (And I do know there's no such thing as "without traffic" when it comes to DC).

 

Property values are also WAY less in the outskirts of B'more than they are in the outskirts of DC (unless you go WAY far out of DC - though Mark's place is to-die-for gorgeous and is within a reasonable commuting distance of DC). It's the only thing that might make this possible...

 

This topic warms my heart. . .a frustrated "Beltway Bandit" pining to make a clean break from the 90+ minute, 60 mile each way commute to an office job. . .

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