October 22, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
As clouds darken our nation's capital, we find light in our own quarter. It is reassuring to rediscover that our well being lies within ourselves. Cynical actions of the powerful can be offset by the spirit of the meek. That spirit is imbued by observing the simple joys and beauty in our lives -- whether that be the face of one's partner, the dignity of one's parent, the goodness of one's child, the laugh of one's grandchild, the tree in one's backyard, or the conversation just relished... This is where we can turn to remind us how good life is.
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October 9, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
We are extending our underground water lines, and the operator of the trencher remarked how soft the soil is. He said it made for easy digging. I hadn't thought much recently about soil being soft, but it makes sense. Soil that is cool, filled with tiny tunnels of air made by worms and microbes, and is moist due to a layer of compost on top would be soft. That describes the soil we are developing and amending. It also helps that most of our farm lies on a former lake-bottom and was just beyond the reach of glaciers that once littered parts of the Midwest with boulders from the Canadian shield.
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September 25, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
"Carry on, love is coming, love is coming to us all..." Crosby, Stills, & Nash offered this hope-filled refrain back in the golden days of music, and it has been visiting me of recent. As some of us feel overwhelmed by dark distortions of power in our culture, the question arises, "How do we carry on?" Well, it is not by looking to power, but by looking, in part, to small matters that inspire us.
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September 17, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Thanksgiving turkeys are on the way, and we are ready to take orders. Though this picture is from last year, and our current flock is not yet this mature, our turkeys will soon be on pasture and ready to be harvested by late November. Turkey raised on pasture offers a beautiful mineralized flavor, that far surpasses bland industrial fare raised in warehouses. Pastured turkeys have a relentless appetite for clover and quickly strip their lot of its offering, so are moved once a day to fresh grass by Mike.
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September 11, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
At risk of trying your patience, here is another picture of the same view, made distinct by the rising sun reflecting on mist. I had never seen sun reflecting on mist until 7 AM on Wednesday morning. It was thrilling to behold, which made for the beginning of an auspicious day.
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September 4, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
The same view is never the same, posing new questions every day. This penetrating rising sun recently asked what scale we need to become sustainable. As the sun moves to the heart of matters, a ready answer was not forthcoming, which is why the question was posed. So, we have been pondering the response.
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August 21, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
As dawn broke last Wednesday, it had not yet become clear I'd visit with William Shakespeare by the end of morning.
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August 13, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
Traveling in circles creates life and brilliance on the farm. We recall from a college course in literature that Dante Aligheri is best know for writing The Divine Comedy: Paradise, Purgatory, and Inferno. He died in 1321 AD, and describes in Inferno the nine circles of hell. These include: paganism, lust, gluttony, greed, anger, heresy, violence, fraud, and treachery. These circles are traveled at peril, leading to darkness and death. So, when I found myself reflecting on circles, they came to mind from that course long ago.
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July 30, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
The irony of perfect moments is they must be surrounded by the imperfect to be recognized. It is the periodic perfect moment that keeps us inspired on the farm. They remind us that chaos can be kept at bay for moments in time. Like good weather, the perfect event is only appreciated in contrast to that which is not, which is plenty!
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July 16, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
What is going on at the farm during these hot and dusty days? Well, the wind is blowing, as it usually does, which helps dispositions. Animals become still, beneath shade, but activity continues at different levels. Notice the uneaten Ironweed in the foreground of this picture. Cattle always eschew it. Whereas in the following picture, sheep have grazed its leaves as far as they can reach. They also defoliate Milkweed and Chicory. Cattle will eat Milkweed but not Chicory. Graziers find these differences interesting, which offer information about the mysterious ecological puzzle we are constantly trying to understand.
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July 9, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
In late June, we process lambs born in May. This yearly event is when we take a close look at how the crop of newborn lambs is faring. In the field, we see them from a distance, but not up close, because they scatter when approached. In the sorting pens, we physically handle them, and see them intimately. This is a rewarding and somewhat arduous task.
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June 25, 2020 • 0 comment(s)
As summer dawns, rivers of cattle flow into seas of grass. We are having trouble keeping up with all the grass. It is growing at maximum rate, and we either slow down to graze it all in one location, leaving other pastures untended, or we speed up to impact them all somewhat. The benefit with slowing down is trampling of weeds. The benefit of speeding up is livestock are on a constant plane of high nutrition and the whole farm is impacted. Many graziers slow down and manage the excess by making hay. We don't have the equipment to do that, so we are speeding up, leaving grass behind and mowing what is left to control weeds.
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