As heat bears down and cows find shade, we are envisioning a revised future.
We have found a fine new home for these cows with Tyler Greene in Lancaster County, Kentucky. They depart on Monday. Fortunately, he is close enough we can buy back offspring in the future, should we need to. The cows' calves from last year will be heading to Tyler's farm as well. He is a young man, who represents the best of the future, and his farm is Sunwatch Homestead. We accept this outcome, unexpected though it is.
Chris begins his new job on Monday. Beth began hers several weeks ago, and Mike begins his at the turn of the year.
In addition, it rained 3.5 inches in an hour and a half last week and our bottoms were flooded, yet again. I do not have a picture of this round of flooding, but here is one from previously that is representative. Cows were knee-deep in water that morning and hens were on an island surrounded by the storm's calling. This creates distress for all and one wonders why we allow ourselves to be so vulnerable.
And we continue to develop Phase II of our wetlands. We have to kill the pasture grasses and forbs, as evidenced by brown dead material across the creek in the picture below, before spreading herbacious seeds this winter and planting 70,000 trees early next spring. This process is underway and is a force in itself.
A month ago, naturalists from Arc of Appalachia were here leading a tour of the wetlands. They commented on the unusual biodiversity they noticed and offered to return to perform a full biological inventory of our wetlands. That would be an extraordinary service to us, and we replied we'd cook them steaks if they did so. In addition, they mentioned how interesting it is to view the wetlands in conjunction with the growing of grass-based foods. The blend of the two is compelling to them, as it is to us. I was surprised and gratified to hear them state that so explicitly.
So, what is all of this saying? The sea is suddenly opening, in a sense, for us to walk through, if we dare. A fresh unimpeded opportunity appears to be arising, if we can observe it clearly.
We think what we are observing is to let the wetlands continue to expand onto the bottom-ground of our farm. Let them reclaim most of the land drained for tillage one hundred years ago. Bring on the trees. We have had a plan to do this over the next twenty years, but it seems the future has suddenly arrived, and we need to accelerate that plan to the next five years.
Further, we make the wetlands available to outsiders for touring and observing, including stays in a guest house. We thus turn a house currently lived in by an employee into a guest house, creating a modest profit center.
We move livestock to the hilltops, providing about 230 acres, which is less acreage than in the past, but is sufficient.
We invite volunteers to help us with some of the work to maintain a landscape this size, reducing the need for one employee.
We continue marketing our food at Montgomery and Madtree, as well as to visitors on the farm. We stop worrying about growing the business.
We hire a Farm Steward to manage animals and coordinate people. This will be the key, finding an unusual person with both sets of abilities or inclinations. This might be an individual or a couple. The Farm Steward stands at the center of this revised vision. It would be a very interesting job for the right person(s).
Chris is helping me post this job opportunity on social media, but it is described below for your review, referral, and response, as inclined. The sheep are cogitating on this situation as well, providing invaluable insight, as they always do.
Job Opportunity/Farm Steward
This opportunity is designed for a skillful person interested in managing a grass-based livestock farm in southern Ohio and integrating it with an expanding on-site wetland mitigation bank. The land is owned by Red Stone Farm LLC, and includes 230 acres of organic pasture, 450 acres of wetlands under development (www.redstonefarm.org), 500 acres of woods, 4 housing units, a commercial kitchen, five species of grassfed livestock with supporting equipment, and an extensive network of trails and laneways.
Given the challenges of our current era, we believe an increasing number of guests and volunteers would like to partake in the exceptional food, beauty, work, and sanctuary this land offers. We thus seek a Farm Steward to manage animals and coordinate visitors for this timely vision.
This individual, couple, or family will live on Frost Rd, Cynthiana, Ohio, and have three responsibilities.
Managing 50+ grassfed beeves, 100 grassfed ewes, 30 - 45 hogs, 1000 - 1500 chickens, and 300 - 500 laying hens on 200 acres of pasture. Fully developed infrastructure and systems are in place, requiring no more than 4-5 hours of attention per day. These food products are marketed through Grassroots Farm & Foods (www.grassrootsfoods.biz).
Managing a guest house, for visitors seeking the beauty of animals and magical land.
Managing a handful of volunteers, who will provide supporting care of livestock, infrastructure, and landscape.
Excellent communication skills.
Strength of body and good health.
Commitment to grass-based foods, regenerative agriculture, and wildlife management.
Reasonable mechanical expertise.
Some digital skills.
Commitment to tidiness on the land and in person.
Some experience with livestock and equipment.
Careful with tools, equipment, and people.
Willingness to live in rural, pristine, and somewhat isolated location.
College degree preferred.
Compensation to be determined. Will include housing, meat, health insurance, and increasing benefits over time.
Drausin Wulsin, Manager, Grassroots Farm & Foods and Red Stone Farm.
Forward questions and resume to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The theme of the day has been the heat, one of the hottest of the summer. We have thus made sure all animals have shade, one way or another, and close access to water. One is grateful for a well-functioning water-system during a stressful time like this. The animals have to have water; the system can't go down, wihich means, if it does, a back-up is in place and ready to go. If the pump at the east end of the farm goes down, we can feed the water lines there from the west end. If the pump at the west end goes down, we divert county water into those underground pipes.
We are raising turkeys for you! These are bronze broadbreasted turkeys, moved to fresh grass daily. They will be harvested at the end of September. We wanted to start early to avoid the rush at Thanksgiving. They will obviously be frozen, which simplifies matters. They will be 15-18 lbs. for cooking. So, please be thinking about Thanksgiving plans by September, which I know is a stretch, but will be important so we can gauge how to handle this inventory.
Susan's Soulful Aioli provides excellent accent to almost anything, including a naked spoon. It is as good straight up as any other way. Here, she has just completed a batch. We include it on all sandwhiches and with chicken and fish salads. It always enhances.
Bob will be at Montgomery Saturday morning and I will be at Madtree on Sunday from 10-12.
As pathways open to us, may we summon courage to follow them, and reenvision the future.
Drausin & Susan