April 3, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Two herds have been concentrated into one. One hundred fifty beeves are now in one herd, representing 3 generations: mature cows, their current calves, and last year's calves, who are now long-yearlings. We have not had this much concentration of beef in one group before, amounting to about 100,000 lbs. of weight. The above lot is nearly 5 acres in size, and they were only in it for one day, but when we start strip-grazing taller grass, impact upon the soil will be about 100,000 lbs. of weight per acre. One has to be careful with that much impact, but it becomes a powerful tool for building organic matter in soil, when managed properly.
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March 26, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
We find peace of mind in the doing. A burst of sunlight on the hillside reveals much activity in the valley below. In the far distance is Landis' house and behind the trees is the grass-based dairy he manages. His cows have been calving through March, so their peak production of milk will be timed with peak production of grass in the months ahead. Then you can see in the picture a thin strip of red beef cows closely managed by Clark. Next in view is the egg-mobile, which Mike moves twice a week, assuring eggs will be firm and yellow. Closer in the foreground is a trailer and skid-steer, which reflect the fencing project for sheep nearing completion. The pasture where the hay is unrolled is a bit overgrazed, so today we move the flock of sheep to another across the creek.
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March 18, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
A tipping point has descended upon us like a cement block, presenting a future that shines and beckons. Much that was spawned by the Industrial Revolution of the 19th and 20th centuries is suddenly being brought to its knees by an untamed microbe. A 200-year-old and deeply ingrained model of doing business is being shattered before our eyes, by an invisible force, over a period of months. The world is convulsing and retching, as if sickened by its diet. Conventional structures of power stand impotent and mute, seemingly by magical decree, before this silent fury sweeping through the interstices of the world. Carbon-guzzling jets lie idle; the price of oil has collapsed; the world has returned to natural boundaries, conventional businesses are dying, and blue skies have reappeared above Wuhan for the first time in two decades.
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March 14, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
We are all thrown off balance by this pandemic, but we are already recovering ourselves, and will have product for you on Sunday. Schools in Cincinnati are closed for the foreseeable future, including Clark Montessori. We are thus required to find a new location for the winter market, which has not yet been ascertained. The formal market is accordingly closed this Sunday the 15th. But we will be in force, through four scenarios.
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March 7, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
These cows stand amid two powerful intersecting forces. The first is health. Our culture reels from issues with health, much of which stem from poor quality of food provided by the industrial food system. Such foods are delivered at low cost, at first glance, until externalities of health and pollution are added to the calculus. These cows provide an antidote, in that their meat is derived 100% from grass, producing high-Omega-3 nutrition, which our bodies recognize from our aboriginal era and thrive on. And they produce this golden food while augmenting the environment, not detracting from it, which takes us to the second powerful force.
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February 29, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
One thousand live stakes of black willow have just been planted along this sloping creek bank. "Live staking" is a process of coppicing willow shoots, cutting them into 2 foot lengths, and then transplanting them into moist soil. When executed during appropriate conditions, results are very reliable. It can't be too warm or the stake will germinate buds but not roots, and die. The tree from which the stake is harvested needs to be dormant, which means winter. But if too cold, the stake freezes and also dies. Temperatures need to be around 40 degrees during the non-growing season, and the soil needs to be moist enough to receive the stake. Such conditions were present this past week, and a hearty team of five cut live stakes and planted them into the stream bank, which we had peeled back last fall. Jacob, Paula, Bob, Kathy, and Clark persevered through cold rain to bring this important task to the fore, for which we are most grateful.
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February 20, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
How does one reply to: "Who are you?" That is a confronting inquiry, which we are each forced to answer by one means or another during the course of a lifetime. How do we define ourselves? Is it the family we grew up in, the family we are creating, the culture we live in, the language we speak, the company we keep, the footsteps we take, the work we create, the words we use, the values we espouse, the issues we vote for, the sacrifices we make, the money we accrue, or the food we eat...? Which of these is most defining? Perhaps no one dominates, and it is the interplay among them that creates individuality. If I had to choose, it would be footsteps and words that show the colors of person or organization. What you say and how you act portray the picture. In the end, saying is acting, so it boils down to how you act or where you let your feet take you. May they always take you to your true self, which often requires time to emerge.
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February 7, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Comfort food is reassuring. Bolognese sauce on pasta reassured us, as we felt a dark curtain fall on our democracy mid-week. It made us feel better to savor the rich flavor of the Bolgonese and to enjoy encompassing moments of simply tasting it. It transported us from worry to celebration, from dark to light, from power to place. It became a meditation to connect with each bite and receive transport offered to a safe and comforting realm. And it was anchoring to picture the grass-finsihed beef and lamb at the heart of this sophisticated sauce being raised on our land from our soil. It is just delicious on its own, and is especially wondrous as a comfort food.
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January 31, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Winter's light illuminates promise. We have been busy over the past weeks warding off darkness. Activity is the best tonic against long nights, so what have we been up to?
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January 17, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Our primary partners are the animals. These 30 ewes came with the ram we purchased at a liquidation sale late this fall. The ram proved to be unproductive, we fear, but the ewes were all bred, and started dropping lambs at the end of December, whereas we start lambing in May. Fortunately, we have experienced mild weather the past three weeks, and the lambs are doing fine. These conditions are not preferable for lactating ewes because of lack of good feed, but there is some green below the yellow tops of grass. So far, so good. We are going to save 2 or 3 of the ram lambs for breeding, since they are of a different bloodline than ours. Those bucks should be ready for service by December. We feel these new ewes are proving to be worthy partners.
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January 10, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Sixty-nine bundles of native wetland seeds have been drying in these sheets over the past three months. These seeds were skillfully collected by Kathy, Paula, and Jacob this fall. This was done by hand, with great patience and reverence. The source of seeds is our current wetland bank, which we anticipate expanding over the next few years and for which we will need such seeds.
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December 19, 2019 • 0 comment(s)
Coppicing is an ancient form of forestry practiced in England. Trees are cut to the ground, with the intent of harvesting stems that emerge from the stump every seven to eight years. The stems grow up to three feet per year and are harvested at about six inches in diameter for firewood, furniture, planking, masts, fencing, and baskets, among other. The stump keeps growing because live shoots keep feeding it. The result is some stumps of coppiced trees are known to be 15 feet in diameter and centuries old.
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