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Planting Trees and Shrubs and Adventures in Cattle Herding

Mississippi Valley Conservation Authority coming to plant my trees

As part of the the shoreline stabilization plan, I am planting trees and shrubs on my property to help mitigate erosion, stabilize the slope on my property and to make up for the trees removed during construction. This is a programme partly funding by the Mississippi Valley Conservation Authourity (MVCA) and the City of Ottawa Shoreline Stabilization Programme. MVCA pays for half and the City of Ottawa may pay for part of the rest.

The MVCA came with about 60 trees and shrubs that are native to the area and who will like my silty clay soil. Some also like to have their feet wet as the area near the river can be wet in the spring.

Started with Shrubs

The shrubs I got were:

6 of these
8 of these
12 of these
10 of these
Button Bush – likes damp locations (6)

The trees I got were:

8 of these
8 of these
Tamarack- 3 of these

The elderberry, raspberry and black chokecherry are all edible so hopefully we will get some fruit. Many of the edible ones where planted on the path to the dock so they would be accessible for picking.

Planters – took them about 2 hours to get these planted
The little white pie with a coco disk to keep the competition down for the first few years

My electrician also gave me a few bigger trees to replace the ones that came down on his watch during the hydro trench debacle. He gave me a white pine, a red maple and a honey locust. They are much bigger – about 3 m high at this point.

Later that day, as I was just sitting down with some tea, I looked out the window and saw my neighbour Carl’s cattle had broken through the fence and half the herd was in the soya bean field and the other part was making a run for my house. I tried to call Carl but couldn’t reach him so I drove to his house. I also called my other neighbour Jim to see if he had Carl’s mobile number but I got his voicemail. I drove home and decided that I should see what I could do to get the cattle back over onto his property.

By the time I got my boots and coat on, Jim had come in his truck and we took Joop with us to see what we could do. Jim is in his 70s or 80s but was a farmer so had some skill with animals. Unfortunately those steers move faster than Jim and me. We decided to enlist Joop and it turns out Joop was a real pro herder. She got 2/3 of them out of the soya bean field and back over the fence in the first 15 minutes. She was smart enough to circle them and then run at them to get them running but smart enough to stay away from the back hooves and not get kicked in the head.

Our bigger problem was the 10 remaining steers headed along the river on a berm on the other side of a swampy/marshy area. Jim stayed in the soya beans and Joop and I headed across the swamp. It was so deep I lost a boot, ended up with water and mud in my boots and falling over. I was a bit of a mess. Eventually I got through it and headed down the river on the berm (river on one side and swamp on other side). As we got closer to the steers, Joop took it upon herself to round them up and send them back my way. Well, this berm was not too wide and I had a bunch of big animals running at me – fortunately they passed me by without stepping on me. From them Joop kept pushing them little by little back through the fence. It was quite an amazing site to see. It must be some kind of instinct.

By the time Jim and I got back to my house, Carl had arrived on his 4 wheeler. Fortunately they had not spread in the soya bean field or that vehicle and the steers would have make a real mess of the crop and they are just getting ready to harvest.

I hope Joop and I get a few steaks for our trouble…

Joop and I having a rest on the dock afterwards

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