Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Value of Planning and Planting

Many people that are strong influences in my life teach and agree on the value of planning and planting - my parents, pastors at church, people I work with - all of whom are successful people that I look up to.

It is so important to (metaphorically speaking) plant a seed - discover your life's desire - and work (plan) on having this come to pass. For me, it's of course my property and reaching people through it and doing what I love.

One of the beautiful men I work with up in the country when doing the whole stud thing works on a few different studs as well as running his own 50 acre property. He has commented often on how he wishes he'd planted trees on first purchasing the property over seven years ago. The time has quickly passed and he knows it would have been smart to take the time initially, to see the fruits now.

In the middle of a strong drought for us here in Australia, the upkeep of horses is proving to be difficult and very expensive - especially for those utilising these gorgeous animals as part of a business. My current boss who has the facilities to keep horses is taking advantage of this time, getting good horses cheap because she can afford to keep them while others can't. I'd much rather be in this boat than considering selling my beloved equine because I couldn't afford to keep him!

Always with my (yet to be purchased) property in mind, I am looking for ways to be able to set myself up to be self sufficient so that I won't suffer from problems that could have been at least lessened due to planning.

Trees provide shelter, wind breaks, shade and more importantly at this time I'm coming to realise, can work well as fodder. My boss has recently been pruning back many trees on her property - not as a big garden clean up, but because certain trees are quite appealing to the horses and work as a gut filler in this time where grass and hay is scarce.

The worker who has implanted into my brain the importance of planting trees on your property when first purchased has mentioned how valuable something like a lucerne tree can be - it's a big bushy plant that can act as shade or a windbreak but more importantly, is appealing to horses and if planted and allowed to grow, can be of great value in times of a drought. Curious about other trees that could do the same thing, I did a search on the net and have found a half dozen trees that could be used as fodder (and wind breaks, shade, fire protection, etc).

I also stumbled across the book - Managing Horses on Small Properties by Jane Myers - which I purchased online (74 horse books in My Library, now!). Check out for info on this book. Listed in this book for good fodder trees are:
- Willows, especially Weeping Willows - drought tolerant
- Poplars - tolerate dry periods
- Carob
- Honey Locust
- Tagasaste (Lucerne tree)

Also take a look at Landscape Design on the Sustainability Victoria Website - ESHousingManualCh10.pdf
Did you know that:
- Dense trees and shrubs can deflect strong winds and channel cooling summer breezes?
- A tree shading a window can reduce a room's temperature by up to 12 degrees celcius?
- Deciduous trees provide summer shade yet allow winter sun access?
- Winbreaks are most effective when located at 90 degrees to the direction of the wind?

Some very helpful points on this .pdf file linked above. If you're going to invest time in your horses and have a property, why not invest in planning and planting as well? It'll only benefit you.

"Love means attention, which means looking after the things we love. We call this stable management." - George H. Morris, The American Jumping Style

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Blogger Rising Rainbow said...

I'd never thought of trees as being a source of fodder. It's an interesting concept. I live on wetlands so I think of trees as being a good way to suck up part of the water but worry about trees that may not be good for my horses. Trees that are good for them to eat would need to be protected to be able to get the growing well enough they could stand the horses assualt but would definitely be a safe choice.


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